It’s mid-week Game Day Toledo, as your Walleye traveled south on I-75 to take on the Cincinnati Cyclones in a classic interstate battle! The Walleye picked up their first win of the season on Saturday as they took down the Atlanta Gladiators 7-4 following a 4-1 defeat the previous night to the same squad. The Walleye offense has been peppering the net the first two games of the year, with 83 shots on goal to start off the season. Alden Hirschfeld, Tyler Sikura, Evan Rankin, A.J. Jenks, and Kyle Bonis all had goals down in Atlanta. Kyle Bonis had himself a hockey game on Saturday though, as he managed to get a hat trick and an assist to add to his single assist during the Friday night contest. A five point weekend also earned Bonis the title of Sher-Wood Hockey ECHL Player of the Week! An area of concern for the Walleye going into the night will be a defense that has given up eight goals during those first two games, though one of them was an empty netter. Those eight goals came off of 68 shots that have made it to the goaltender, especially Saturday night when Cal Heeter had to make 39 saves to earn his first win of the year. Coach Andy Delmore will have some work to do with the defense to give his goaltenders some support in the crease.
Cincinnati is still looking to get their first win of the year after starting with two straight loses to the Indy Fuel. Cincinnati’s defense has been keeping them in their games however, only allowing 42 shots on goal between the first two games of the year. The Cyclones are looking to get more production out of their offense, which has only put up two goals (one in each game) this year. This will also be the first time that Dominic Zombo will play against the Walleye following a fantastic season with Toledo last year. Zombo will be attempting to help spark the Cyclone’s anemic offense, as Cincy looks to get their first home win of the year.
Lines are always difficult to predict in the ECHL, but expect Bonis, Rankin, Hirschfeld, Jenks, and Berschbach to be in the top two lines as they look to add to their point totals. I would expect to see the defensive pairing shuffled as well as Coach Delmore looks for his blue-liners to gel as a unit. Toledo has also received a player from Grand Rapids this morning: Jack Barre will be joining the Walleye. The young forward is fresh out of Dartmouth College looking to make an impact in the pros, so I would expect to see him suit up for the Walleye sometime this week, possibly tonight. The Cyclones are going to give Toledo a hard game, as they look to avoid their third loss of the season. But hey, if it was easy then it wouldn’t be worth having right? Listen in tonight on Fox Sports 1230 at 7:35 to catch the Toledo Walleye go for their second road win of the year!
Pictures provided by Jarrod Maneval
Additional Stats provided by Mark Monroe’s article in the Toledo Blade:
Cincinnati Cyclones stats provided by their website: