TOLEDO, Ohio – The Toledo Walleye got back in the win column in exciting fashion on Sunday evening, picking up a 7-4 win over the Indy Fuel in the Huntington Center to snap a three-game losing streak.
The Walleye used a four-goal second period to pick up their first victory since Opening Weekend at the Huntington Center on Nov. 6. Their record now stands at 6-4-0, including a 2-2-0 record at home. Six players scored for the Fish throughout the duration of the game, and nine players earned an assist, with Matt Berry dishing four.
The Fuel took the early advantage, netting their first goal just 5:05 into the game. Brent Gates scored the equal strength goal with Spencer Watson and Cédric Lacroix assisting. Indy received an opportunity to score again with a man advantage after Butrus Ghafari was called for holding at 10:03, but Toledo earned a successful penalty kill to keep the Indy advantage at one.
Indy picked up a bench penalty for too many men on the ice with 3:53 remaining, giving the Walleye a chance to tie the game prior to the first intermission. The power play was unsuccessful, but strong play in the net from Billy Christopoulos led to a goal by Josh Dickinson with just 27 seconds left in the first. TJ Hensick and Matt Berry recorded the assists as the Walleye ended the period tied with Indy at one apiece.
The Walleye scored four goals in 5:26 of play to take a commanding lead in the second period. Blake Hillman started with an equal strength goal at the 11:22 mark to give Toledo the lead for the first time. Marcus Vela assisted Hillman on the goal. Conlan Keenan followed less than two minutes later with help from Gordi Myer and Brady Tomlak with 13:18 gone in the frame. Hillman and Keenan each picked up their second goal of the season on their respective scores.
Austin McIlmurray and Brett McKenzie scored exactly one minute apart to extend the Walleye lead to four. McIlmurray’s goal at the 15:48 mark was his first in a Walleye uniform. Keenan and Steve Olesky earned the assists. McKenzie’s goal, with help from Matt Berry and Hillman, was his fifth of the year.
Indy cut into the Walleye lead near the end of the second period, scoring a power play goal with 2:16 remaining in the frame to bring the score to 5-2. Keoni Texiera and Chad Yetman assisted Kale Howarth on the score. Alex Brooks picked up a hooking minor at 17:25, leading to the Indy goal.
Toledo and Indy traded goals throughout the third period, starting with the Walleye just 1:40 into the frame. TJ Hensick picked up the goal, extending the lead to 6-2, with McKenzie and Berry picking up assists.
Indy’s Cédric Lacroix was called for a five-minute fighting major and a ten-minute game misconduct penalty at the 2:09 mark, but Brent Gates picked up the shorthanded goal with 4:37 gone to trim the Toledo lead to three. Tommy Apap received a hooking penalty at the 5:23 mark, and Hensick scored in a hurry with a five on three Toledo advantage to make the score 7-3 with 5:28 gone in the frame. Hillman picked up his second assist of the game, and Berry earned his fourth, giving him the second-most assists in a regular-season game in Walleye history.
The Fuel chipped into the Walleye lead with 8:38 remaining in regulation behind Kale Howarth’s second goal of the game. However, Indy could not find the back of the net for the remainder of the contest, and the Walleye earned the 7-4 victory.
Indy outshot Toledo, 34-31, on the evening while both teams scored on a power play. The Walleye had five opportunities to the Fuel’s two. Indy spent 23 minutes in the penalty box while Toledo only picked up four penalty minutes.
Billy Christopoulos picked up the win for the Walleye, moving to 3-2 on the year behind a season-high 30 saves. Mitch Gillam was credited with the loss after allowing five of the seven Toledo goals in 36:48 of play. Cale Morris gave up two goals in the final 23:12.
The Walleye will welcome the Iowa Heartlanders to the Huntington Center for the first time in history on Friday, Nov. 19. The matchup marks the third contest between the two teams this season. Puck drop is set for 7:15 p.m. in downtown Toledo.
- Toledo – TJ Hensick (two goals, assist)
- Toledo – Blake Hillman (goal, two assists)
- Toledo – Matt Berry (four assists)