Evan Rankin's goal in the third round of the shootout proved to be the game-winner as his Toledo Walleye (23-21-3-1) earned a 3-2 win over the Cincinnati Cyclones (21-20-6-3) in front of 2,176 at U.S. Bank Arena on Wednesday night.
After a back-and-forth first period, Toledo jumped out to a 1-0 with less than 30 seconds left in the frame when Chris DiDomenico tucked in his fourth goal of the season past Cyclones netminder Chet Pickard (L, 26 saves, 8-11-2-1).
In the second period, the Walleye added to their lead when Mike Hedden finished off a three-on-one rush by sliding the puck past Pickard for a 2-0 lead. Luckily, Cincinnati answered back at the 12:58 mark when Dan Eves one-timed home his first goal as a Cyclone to cut the deficit to 2-1. Then, with just under a minute to play in the period, Casey-Pierro Zabotel caught a beautiful Mathieu Aubin pass and snapped a shot through the legs of Toledo goalie Joe Palmer (W, 38 saves, 9-10-1) to knot the score at two heading into the second intermission.
In the third period, both teams played evenly but went scoreless to send the game into overtime. In the extra session, Toledo collected all five shots on net, but once again came up empty. So for the fifth time this season, the Cyclones found themselves in a shootout. In the third round of the best-of-five scenario, Evan Rankin rang one off the goal post, but the ensuing rebound deflected off of Pickard's pad and into the net. After Barret Ehgoetz' shootout try failed, DiDomenico followed with another Walleye goal to seal the victory and give his team a 3-2 win. Cincinnati's record in overtime play slips to 5-8.