Sebastian Cossa got the start in net for the Toledo Walleye and came up with 43 saves while leading the Walleye to a 2-1 win over the Cincinnati Cyclones in Game 3 of the Central Division Finals on Wednesday night. This was Cossa’s fourth win of the playoffs, and Toledo is yet to taste a defeat in this postseason. Toledo had a sizable fanbase for the first two games on the road in Cincinnati but enjoyed the home-ice advantage in Game 3 in front of a sellout crowd of 7,612 fans.
Cincinnati started the first period looking like a team that did not want to find themselves down three games to none. There was much more offensive pressure from the Cyclones, which resulted in 10 shots on goal for the period. Cinci had the best chance of the 1st period when Matt Berry took a pass out of his own zone and broke in on Cossa, getting off a backhand which Cossa was able to stop. Toldeo would not be outdone in the period, outshooting the Cyclones by one shot. No goals would be scored in the period, with each team getting a chance on the power play, but no goals were scored.
Cincinnati started the 2nd period dominating the offensive zone of play, getting 12 shots on goal in the first seven and a half minutes. Cincinnati got their first power play of the period on an Eemil Viro hooking penalty. Cinci managed two shots on the power play but did not put the puck in the net. Toledo finally broke through to score the game’s first goal at 11:35 of the second period. TJ Hensick set up Drew Worrad for his 3rd of the playoffs, beating Mark Sinclair, who was making his first start of the series in goal. Charlie Curti, who made a great play to keep the puck in the zone, also received a helper on the goal.
At 16:19 of the period, Trenton Bliss took a tripping penalty to give Cincinnati their third power play of the game. Cossa continued to stand on his head in the period as he stopped a few good Cyclone chances, and Toledo was able to kill the penalty. With 12 seconds left in the period, Hensick found himself in the right spot at the right time as he deflected in the Walleye’s second goal of the game to give Toledo a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes. A frustrated Cyclones team outshot the Walleye 23 to 8, but Cossa was an absolute wall.
At 4:45 of the 3rd, Cincinnati was finally able to solve Cossa when Adam Berg beat him for his 2nd goal of the playoffs, slicing Toledo’s lead in half. Berg picked up a rebound and beat Cossa short side with traffic in front of him. The goal came on Cincinnati’s 36th shot of the game.
Toledo got to go on the power play at 7:29 of the period when Zach Berzolla was sent to the box for a nasty boarding penalty. He also got an additional two minutes for roughing with Andrew Sturtz when he came over for some extracurricular activity after the boarding. Cincinnati took an additional penalty for tripping only 1:13 after Berzolla was sent to the box. Toledo had a five on three but only for 15 seconds as Gordie Green committed his tripping penalty. No one would capitalize on the 4-on -3, the 4-on-4, or the 16-second Cyclone power play that ensued.
Cincinnati continued to throw everything they had at Toledo to try and get the equalizer but could not beat Cossa again. With just under three minutes remaining, the Cyclones committed a high sticking, putting Toledo on the power play. Cyclones pulled their goalie with 30 seconds remaining after killing the penalty. The Cyclones would not get another chance to put the puck on the net as time ran out, giving Toledo the 2-1 victory. Cossa was the first star with his phenomenal game in net. Toledo will have a chance to close the series out at home on Friday night. Puck drop will be at 7:15 pm.