TOLEDO, Ohio — The Toledo Walleye, facing a must-win situation on Saturday in Game 6, dominated Cincinnati to force a Game 7.
Goals from John Albert, Brett McKenzie and T.J. Hensick, plus a shutout effort from goalie Billy Christopoulos would fuel the Fish.
But the main catalyst for the win? The crowd.
A record 8,592 fans packed into the Huntington Center, the most in the arena's history.
"I know our guys felt it," said head coach Dan Watson. "They provided energy, they gave our guys confidence. The cheering, it's unbelievable. There's no other place in minor pro hockey like this here at the Huntington Center."
The Walleye have played in many big games in front of many big crowds in their history, but players and coaches agree, there's never been at atmosphere like the one on Saturday.
"That was nuts," said goaltender Billy Christopoulos. "I've never been a part of anything like that in my life. It was crazy. I looked up in the crowd once and I see standing room only and it's like five deep there. That was crazy."
"Best fan base — has to be — in minor league sports," said forward John Albert. "When you have fans like that cheering so loud, all you can do is give it your all."
"They never surprise me," said Walleye captain T.J. Hensick. "These people love the Walleye and I've gotten accustomed to seeing that. It's just electrifying."
Game 7 is on Tuesday at 7:35 p.m. from the Huntington Center as the Walleye look to advance to the second round of the playoffs.