INDIANAPOLIS – Shane Berschbach’s rocket from the left circle pulled the Toledo Walleye even with 4:25 left in regulation, but Craig Wyszomirski scored with 36 seconds remaining in overtime as the Indy Fuel escaped with a 3-2 decision on Saturday at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
Wyszomirski, who failed to get Indy (14-13-0-0) on the board when Toledo (15-9-3-0) goaltender Billy Christopoulos poked away his penalty shot attempt with 16:51 left in the third, redeemed himself in the final minute of the extra session when he unloaded a wrist shot from the top of the right circle that sailed inside the far post. The result marks the second time in nine days that Walleye have fallen in overtime on the road against the Fuel.
Chances were limited in the opening period until Kyle Bonis scored for the first time since returning to the Walleye lineup at 14:06. Bonis took a stretch pass from Josh Kestner near the Indy line and had his initial wrist shot trickle between the pads of Charles Williams and settle in the crease. However, before Williams could regain his bearings and fall on the loose puck, Bonis raced toward the net to tap his own rebound into an open goal and stake the visitors to a 1-0 lead.
The Walleye withstood a 5-on-3 penalty kill lasting 1:31 during a goalless second period, but saw their slim advantage threatened early in the third frame when Wyszomirski was awarded a penalty shot after getting hooked from behind in the slot by Brandon Anselmini. On the ensuing breakaway attempt, Wyszomirski appeared to try to slide the puck between the pads of Christopoulos, but the gap was quickly sealed shut at the 3:09 mark.
Indy eventually rallied to capture its first lead of the night, as Dylan McLaughlin scored two goals in a 1:38 span. While Steven Oleksy and Bobby MacIntyre served coincidental minors, McLaughlin circled away from pressure at the right circle and placed a shot into the top left corner to knot the score at 1-1 with 8:47 left in regulation. With seven seconds remaining in the same 4-on-4, MacIntyre raced his way into the Toledo zone and dropped a pass to McLaughlin at the left circle for a one-timer between Christopoulos’ catching glove and body.
The Walleye quickly recovered and restored parity courtesy of Berschbach’s fifth goal of the campaign. Josh Winquist chipped a pass from the right side of the Indy blue line toward the top of the left circle, where Berschbach ripped a slapshot past the blocker of Williams with 4:25 left in regulation.
Although the Walleye were able to salvage one point, Wyszomirski tallied his first goal in an Indy uniform with 36 seconds left in the extra period to clinch a 3-2 victory.
Toledo finished a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill, but was unable to score on two power play chances. Williams turned away 27-of-29 shots to claim the win, as Christopoulos dropped to 6-1-2 in nine career ECHL appearances despite stopping 37-of-40.
What’s Next:The Walleye return to the Huntington Center on Friday, Dec. 27 to host the Wheeling Nailers and Sunday, Dec. 29 to battle the Cincinnati Cyclones. Both games start at 7:15 p.m.
Three Stars:1. Indy - Craig Wyszomirski (overtime goal)2. Indy - Dylan McLaughlin (two goals)3. Indy - Sam Kurker (assist)