Walleye break third-period tie to hand Indy third straight setback
TOLEDO, OHIO – The Toledo Walleye (28-11-4-3) scored the lone goal in the third period to take a 5-4 victory over the Indy Fuel (23-22-2-1) Saturday night at the Huntington Center. The loss was the third straight for the Fuel, who now drop to fifth in the Central Division standings after the Fort Wayne Komets’ overtime triumph Saturday against the Newfoundland Growlers.
After a wild, high-scoring first two periods of play, forward Dylan Sadowy’s go-ahead goal at 5:48 of the final frame proved to be enough cushion for the Walleye. The forward blasted a one-timer from TJ Hensick over the glove of Indy goaltender Gordon Defiel (26 saves) to put the home team on top, before the Toledo defense locked things down the rest of the way. The Walleye outshot Indy by a 15-5 margin in the third period, en route to claiming the first of two games this weekend in Northern Ohio. The two clubs will face off once again on Sunday afternoon.
The Fuel and Walleye traded punch for punch over the first 40 minutes of regulation, including a back-and-forth second period that featured five combined goals. Josh Shalla and Logan Nelson each tallied a goal and an assist for Indy, while defenseman Alex Brooks chipped in a pair of assists.
Shalla opened the night’s scoring halfway through the first period with his team-leading 20th goal of the season. Radovan Bondra forced a turnover behind the Toledo net, finding Shalla open in the slot for a one-time finish.
Toledo tied the game late in the first period with a shorthanded tally from defenseman Matt Register, but Indy answered back when Logan Nelson scored on the same Fuel power play with four seconds remaining in the frame. Nelson caught a pass from Ryan Rupert in transition and beat Walleye netminder Pat Nagle (28 saves) through the five-hole for his 11th goal of the season, putting Indy back on top 2-1 heading into the first intermission.
Defenseman Brenden Kotyk wired a shot through traffic to even the score at two just 31 seconds into the middle frame. The Fuel responded again, grabbing their third lead of the night at 5:11 of the period with a strike from Matheson Iacopelli. Just when it looked like he was about to carry the puck behind the net, Nelson dropped a shifty reverse pass to Iacopelli off of the right goal post, who had a tap-in for his first goal of the season.
Once again the Walleye fought their way back to equal footing, this time grabbing their first lead of the game with back-to-back tallies from Charlie O’Connor and Marcus Crawford at 12:45 and 16:06 respectively. Facing a 4-3 deficit late in the second period, Indy tacked on its second power play tally of the evening to tie the score heading to the third. Shalla gained the offensive zone with speed before sliding a pass to Quentin Shore on the right half-wall. Shore took two strides toward the net and beat Nagle clean over the glove for his 11th tally of the campaign.
Indy finished the game with a 32-31 advantage in the shot column, while scoring twice on three opportunities with the power play. Toledo struck once on three chances of their own with the man advantage.
Sunday’s rematch at Huntington Center is scheduled for a 5:15 p.m. ET puck drop.
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