Happy Veteran’s Day everyone! I’d like to start off by saying thank you to all the men and women who have served or are currently serving our country, without your service we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the many great things offered by this country. Such as T-Town Hockey! It’s Friday here on the ice, and it’s time for the Walleye to get to work! Tonight your Toledo Walleye are in Moline, Illinois to take on the Quad City Mallards! This will be the second of a three game road trip, after Toledo took care of business in Kalamazoo on Wednesday. Quad City will be the second Central Division opponent of the year for Toledo, and they are coming off a shootout loss to the Cincinnati Cyclones. The Walleye are 7-1-0-0 on the road this year, while the Mallards are 2-1-0-1 at home. Time to set em up and see where they stand in the league.
League Standing: 2nd place at 8-2-0-0 and 16 points
Western Conference Standings: 2nd
Central Division Standing: 2nd
Goals Scored Average: 4.30, with 43 goals scored ranking 2nd
Goals Allowed Average: 2.70, with 27 goals allowed ranking 11th
Power Play: 14.6%, 20th with 6 goals scored on 41 chances
Penalty Kill: 84.6%, 11th with 6 goals allowed on 39 chances
Quad City Mallards
League Standing: 11th place at 5-3-0-1 and 11 points
Western Conference Standing: 5th
Central Division Standing: 4th
Goals Scored Average: 2.44, with 22 goals scored ranking 22nd
Goals Allowed Average: 2.56, with 23 goals allowed ranking 8th
Power Play: 22.2%, 7th with 9 goals scored on 36 chances
Penalty Kill: 82.4%, 17th with 6 goals allowed on 34 chances
Toledo will be playing their second division opponent in as many games, and it looks as though it will be a favorable match up. The Walleye defense really came alive against Kalamazoo on Wednesday, limiting the Wings to 23 shots on goal (SOG) and Cal Heeter turned away all of those SOG to earn his first career ECHL shutout. Unfortunately, the Walleye will once again be without defenseman Scott Czarnowczan as he has been loaned to the Iowa Wild of the AHL. Defensive pairings will have to get shuffled once again, which could lead to problems against Quad City. Thankfully the Mallards are only scoring 2.44 goals a game, so our defense may catch a break as they readjust without the Czar.
Offensively Toledo got their foot back on the gas, scoring three goals against Kalamazoo. Mathew Santos scored the first professional goal of his career Wednesday to start the scoring for the Walleye, followed up by Walters and Berschbach. We did see the end of Tyson Spink’s 8 game point streak though. Going into the game Quad City has three players with 9 or more points on the season, Justin Kovacs, Sam Warning, and Alex Petan. Toledo on the other hand has four current players in this category: A.J. Jenks, Tyler Sikura, and Tylor/Tyson Spink. Another advantage for the Walleye is that every player on the team (besides the goalies) has at least one point on the year. Out of Quad City’s roster, six members have not tallied a point for the season, and four of those players are forwards!
So what will be the factors heading into today’s game? Toledo needs to stay out of the penalty box, because the Mallard power play unit is a formidable 22.2% and could expose Toledo. 5 on 5 hockey tends to give the advantage to the Walleye, as our offense has been raining shots on the net while Quad City has been rather anemic in the offensive zone. Our goaltending continues to improve, and I would expect to see Jake Paterson in for the game against Quad City as he looks to get back into the win column. Toledo has been amazing on the road so far this year, winning seven of eight road contests so far this year and those seven have been consecutive as well. All of these factors lead me to believe Toledo can come out of Illinois with a 3-1 victory over the Mallards. Let’s Go Walleye, and thanks once again to all the awesome veterans out there!