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Walleye race past Fuel for third straight win

TOLEDO, OhioCharlie O’Connor netted a pair of goals as the Toledo Walleye earned their third consecutive victory with a 4-1 decision over the Indy Fuel on Sunday before a sold-out crowd of 7,897 at the Huntington Center.

The Walleye (29-11-4-3) closed out their season-long, nine-game home stand with a 6-1-1-1 record to improve to 16-4-2-1 on home ice this season. Dylan Sadowy contributed a goal and an assist, while two helpers from Ben Danford marked his first points in a Toledo uniform. 

T.J. Hensick started the scoring 6:23 into the contest, tying Shane Berschbach for the club lead with his 17th goal of the campaign. Sadowy directed a pass through the slot toward the left circle to Hensick, who moved from backhand to forehand before sliding the puck past the left pad of Matt Tomkins.

O’Connor doubled Toledo’s advantage 43 seconds into the middle period. After gaining the zone on the left wing and skating down to the left dot, Berschbach found O’Connor alone at the back door for a simple tap-in.

One night removed from scoring what proved to be the game-winning goal, Sadowy pushed Toledo’s lead to 3-0 with 9:39 gone in the third. Marcus Crawford skated into the high slot and flipped a pass to Sadowy at the lower edge of the left circle for a shot between Tomkins’ right arm and body.

Indy (23-23-2-1) spoiled Kaden Fulcher’s shutout bid 39 ticks later. Matt Register recovered to check Matheson Iacopelli’s stick on a breakaway attempt, but momentum guided the puck underneath Fulcher’s pads to trim the deficit to 3-1. O’Connor eventually sent his second goal of the night – and third of the weekend against Indy – into an empty net to ice the game with 1:32 remaining.

Toledo finished 0-for-2 on the man advantage, while Indy came up empty on three power play chances. Fulcher turned away 22-of-23 shots to collect his first win since Jan. 25 versus Cincinnati, as Tomkins stopped 31-of-34 in defeat.

What’s Next:
The top two teams in the Western Conference will square off on Friday, Feb. 15, as the Walleye make the trek down I-75 for a clash against the Cincinnati Cyclones. Puck drop from U.S. Bank Arena is scheduled for 7:35 p.m.

Three Stars:
1. Toledo – Charlie O’Connor (two goals)
2. Toledo – Dylan Sadowy (goal, assist)
3. Toledo – Ben Danford (two assists)