TOLEDO, Ohio- The Cyclones traveled to the north along I-75 to face-off against division rival Toledo Walleye in this, the first game of the 2013 Kelly Cup Playoffs for both teams. This is a longstanding rivalry dating to the years when the Toledo squad played under the name Toledo Storm.
ECHL Coach of the Year Jarrod Skalde led his team against Nick Vitucci, the second place Coach in the North Division.
Friday night the starting netminders were rookies Michael Houser for the ‘Clones and Kent Simpson for the Walleye. Simpson is a blocking style goalie and the Cyclones need to take advantage of the second and third chances in order to score.
The first period began with the Cyclones setting the tempo. With five minutes gone in the period neither team had more than one shot on goal. Toledo scored first on a pass from the near side boards with a goal at 6:45 by Trevor Parkes-his first of the playoffs.
The visiting Cyclones returned the favor with a goal by Mike Embach low on Simpsons blocker side at 8:28 into the period. Score tied one to one as the opening twenty minutes expires.
To begin the second Cyclone Trevor Lewis missed the net by inches. The Walleye drew a ten-minute misconduct for taunting at about eleven minutes into the stanza.
It was however getting chippy. Verbal pugilism abounded between the adversaries for the duration of the period.
The Cyclones had ample opportunities to add to the score but the Walleye were up to the task. The Walleye however could not solve the Cyclones’ defense as the period winds down. The visiting Cincinnati squad benefited from a late period power play but to no avail and started the final frame on the power play.
The third began and Cyclone defenseman Brian O’Hanley took an ill-timed penalty giving the Walleye a short power play with no luck. The sides traded rushes into the offensive zones and pepper the goaltenders to no avail. The Cyclones were 0 for 5 on the power play during regulation. The period ended scoreless forcing the extra time.
Overtime begins and one minute fifty – seven seconds in the Cyclones took a penalty and gave the Walleye two minutes of power play time.
The ‘Clones special teams prevailed and the teams struggled mightily to score.
Cyclones Captain Mathieu Aubin came close on a rebound lying on the Toledo goal line but was unable to punch it home. Eighty minutes of struggle between these in state rivals is complete and yet no winner as we will await a fifth period continuing sudden death.
The second OT session began with the Cyclones putting tremendous pressure on the Walleye defense . Simpson remained solid in net until Mike Embach jammed home a rebound at 4:58 to score the game winner. Cyclones win game one by a score of 2-1.
Now less than 24 hours away lies game two of this best of seven series between these bitter rivals.
Follow us on Twitter @prohockeynews