Time for some Saturday night hockey in the Huntington Center as the Brampton Beast are back in town! Your Walleye are back home after a brutal 6-0 shutout loss in Wheeling yesterday, and look to rebound tonight against a Beast team that won in a shootout the last time they played in the Huntington Center. Despite the loss last night Toledo still holds onto first place in the league, but only by two points over a surging Florida Everblades team. Tonight will be a critical match up as the Walleye look to get back in the win column and maintain their spot at the top of the league.
League Standing: 1st place at 24-6-0-1 and 49 points
Western Conference Standing: 1st out of 14 teams
Central Division Standing: 1st out of 7 teams
Goals Scored Average: 4.06, with 126 goals scored ranking 2nd
Goals Against Average: 2.81, with 87 goals allowed ranking 2nd
Power Play: 22.6%, 2nd ranked percentage and have scored 31 Power Play goals
Penalty Kill: 83.5%, 16th ranked percentage with 17 Power Play goals allowed
League Standing: 10th place at 19-10-1-2 and 37 points
Eastern Conference Standing: 4th out of 13 teams
North Division Standing: 2nd out of 6 teams
Goals Scored Average: 3.84, with 123 goals scored ranking 5th
Goals Against Average: 3.56, with 114 goals allowed ranking 20th
Power Play: 19.0%, 8th ranked percentage and have scored 24 Power Play goals
Penalty Kill: 86.2%, 6th ranked percentage with 19 Power Play goals allowed
Detroit Red Wings prospect and forward Zach Nastasiuk was reassigned to the Walleye on December 31st, while All-Star defenseman Jacob MacDonald left the team January 5th after signing a Professional Tryout Contract with the Albany Devils of the AHL.
Since the last meeting with the Walleye the Beast have had multiple player transactions. On January 1st defensemen Easton Oliver signed a Standard Player Contract (SPC) with the team, which he was released from on January 6th. Two additional players were released on the 6th as well: center Taylor Carnevale and goaltender Brandon Billie were both released from their SPCs. Three players were added on January 6th though: left winger and former Walleye Stephon Thorne was claimed off waivers, forward Daultan Leveille was acquired from the Wichita Thunder via trade, and defenseman Travis Armstrong was signed to a SPC.
Tonight will be a good test for a Walleye team that hasn’t faced much adversity this year. After getting obliterated last night Toledo needs to come out focused on Brampton and nothing more, we can’t dwell on the past. Coach Watson faces a good test here too, as he has to adjust his lines to get production against a challenging Brampton team. Last time these two teams played the Beast bottled up the Walleye in the neutral zone and really limited our offensive zone time and pressure. We can’t let the Beast set up that same contain style of play, especially after last night, or else we will be in trouble. Toledo needs to gain the zone fast tonight, either by dump ins or stretch passes, in order to negate neutral zone troubles. Coach Delmore needs to get his defensemen in order as well, as the loss of MacDonald to the AHL showed badly last night. Paterson will almost certainly have the start, but he’ll need the support of his defense so that we recover from last night. How appropriate that tonight is Rocky Tribute Night when the Walleye find themselves down but not out? Hopefully we can recover and deliver a late round KO against the Beast tonight, let’s go Walleye!