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Walleye slip past Cyclones, 3-2
CINCINNATI (WKRC) -- A late-game goal from Aaron Clarke was enough to stifle the Cyclones' second-period comeback attempt as the Toledo Walleye (15-24-3-0) narrowly defeated the Cyclones (26-14-1-1) by a 3-2 final score in front of 641 at U.S. Bank Arena on a snowy Tuesday night. Clarke lit the lamp twice for the Walleye while goaltender Mac Carruth (W, 22 saves, 7-10-0-0) turned aside 22 of the 24 shots he faced in the tilt, including several attempts in the last minute when the Cyclones had an extra attacker.
Without leading scorer Anthony Luciani, who was called up today by the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League, the Cyclones were unable to mount a second comeback. Cincinnati now holds a 5-1 lead in the season series against their North Division opponent.
The Walleye set the pace early, pressuring the Cyclones on both ends of the ice, but goaltender Rob Madore (L, 29 saves, 11-6-0-0) made a few spectacular saves to keep the visitors off the scoreboard. The Cyclones successfully killed a penalty early in the period, but were unable to convert on three power play opportunities. Despite being outshot 15-3 in the frame, they entered the first intermission no worse for wear, as neither team was able to find the back of the net.
Momentum remained in favor of the Walleye early in the second stanza, resulting in two goals by the visiting club. When a shot by Richard Nedomlel bounced off Madore, Clarke buried the rebound, his eleventh of the season, at 6:22. Minutes later, an odd-man break allowed David Gilbert to make a cross-ice pass to Maxim Shalunov, who recorded his ninth of the season at 10:47. However, the Cyclones responded with a tally of their own when Jonathan Hazen blasted his ninth of the season into the top of the net at 14:07. The goal infused new life into the home team and 53 seconds later, Adam Brace knotted the score at two when he cleaned up a rebound from Josh Shalla.
Although the Cyclones entered the final frame with momentum on their side, it was the Walleye who finally broke the tie when Clarke scored his second of the night on another odd-man rush at 9:13. With 80 seconds remaining, the Cyclones pulled Madore, but the home team was unable to convert the tying goal and the Walleye escaped with the victory.
"It was a tough one," said Cyclones captain David MacDonald. "They played [well], but we came out a little too flat...I thought there were times when we were great, but we have to tip our hats to those guys. They played well."
"He's very deserving of it," MacDonald added about Luciani's recent call-up. "We wish him luck. It's going to be a big void for us, so there are going to have to be some guys that step up."