Toledo, Ohio – The Evansville IceMen were defeated by the Toledo Walleye on Saturday night for the first time this season. Prior to tonight’s game, the IceMen were a perfect (3-0-0) against the Walleye, including the victory that began Evansville’s six game winning streak on Saturdays back on Nov. 3. Toledo’s first overthrow of the IceMen was in convincing fashion, shutting out Evansville and ending their six game unbeaten streak.
Toledo Goaltender Jordan Pearce mastered the IceMen, pitching the shutout while saving all 27 shots faced. Pearce, voted the game’s first star, boosts his record to (7-3-0) on the season for the Walleye.
The game’s first tally was courtesy of a one-timer from Walleye Left Winger Willie Coetzee at the 14:04 mark of the first period, and would be enough to deny Evansville their first road victory since snapping the Reading Royals’ 11-game winning streak on the road on Nov. 24. Coetzee’s eventual game-winner was assisted by Walleye Center Joey Martin and Right Winger Kyle Rogers.
Coetzee scored his second goal of the game and 13th of the season on an empty-net effort with 1:49 remaining in regulation. The second star of the game finished with two goals and a +2 rating while compiling seven shots on goal against IceMen Goaltender Paul Dainton.
Dainton got the start in-net for the IceMen for the second straight night and kept Evansville in the game until the end. Dainton was voted the game’s third star for his .933 save percentage performance, saving 42-of-45 shots faced. The IceMen net-minder was strapped with his second loss in as many nights, but has accumulated a steady .937 save percentage in those affairs.
The IceMen remained in the game throughout the majority of regulation, but saw the few scoring chances they had vanish. Perhaps the greatest opportunity for Evansville came early in the third period when IceMen Center Todd Robinson lead a 2-on-1 breakaway with Right Winger Kevin Baker. Robinson held the option to dish to Baker until the last second, but instead riffled a shot that was ultimately deflected away by the right pad of Pearce.
This opportunity presented itself on one of the game’s two 4-on-4 scenarios following a coinciding penalty to IceMen Left Winger Josh Beaulieu and Walleye Right Winger Travis Novak, each player banned for roughing 1:27 into the third period. The other twin minors were given to IceMen Defenseman Sean Whitney and Walleye Left Winger Terry Broadhurst, each for slashing 4:21 into the game’s final period.
Each player involved in the coinciding penalties for Toledo, Novak and Broadhurst, added goals later in the period. Novak’s third marker of the season came 17:42 into the period and gave the Walleye a 2-0 lead. Broadhurst scored his fifth goal of the season with just 13 seconds remaining in regulation, making it 4-0.
IceMen Forward Dylan Clarke and Right Winger Cody Beach lead Evansville in shots on goal with four each. The IceMen forced 27 shots toward the net with 15 of those shots coming in the first period. Toledo outshot the IceMen in the second period alone, 18-4, and toppled Evansville in the category overall, 46-27.
Evansville was only granted one power play on the game, and to make matters more difficult, the power play was not enjoyed in-full. Walleye Right Winger Luke Glendening was penalized for slashing 10:38 into the third period, but Evansville’s Beaulieu was still serving one of his three minor penalties of the night. Once Beaulieu was released of the penalty box, the IceMen had lost about 30 seconds of man advantage time.
The IceMen power play went 0-for-1 against Toledo. Evansville’s penalty killing unit held once again, denying each of Toledo’s four power play opportunities. The IceMen on the penalty kill have discharged 28 of their opponents last 29 man advantages.
While the goaltending and penalty kill have remained strong for the IceMen, Evansville has not scored a goal in a combined time of over 97 minutes of game clock. The last IceMen goal came at the 7:18 point of Friday night’s second period in Kalamazoo.
The streak of six straight Saturday night wins came to an end for the IceMen in the same place the streak began. Also docking to a halt is Evansville’s six straight games of point-receiving outcomes, all coming in the month of December. The IceMen are now 7(4-1-2) on the month, and 28(10-15-3)23 on the season.
Toledo improves their record to 26(15-10-1)31 on the season and overthrows idle Cincinnati atop the North Division standings. Evansville’s record against North Division opposition reaches (7-7-3) following Saturday night’s decision.
The IceMen conclude their weekend road trip tomorrow in Wheeling. The game is scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. CST and can be heard live on ‘Magic 98.5’ FM and 1400 AM WEOA, as well as the rest of the IceMen Radio Network.