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Schultz, Gazzola score twice each as Walleye down Fuel, 6-3

Thursday, February 3rd
Schultz, Gazzola score twice each as Walleye down Fuel, 6-3

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Five Fish tallied multiple points Wednesday night in Indianapolis as the Toledo Walleye skated past the Indy Fuel, 6-3.

Brandon Schultz and Randy Gazzola led the charge, each scoring to twice to combine for four of Toledo’s six goals. The win marks the Walleye’s third straight road victory and their seventh win against the Fuel this season.

Eight minutes went by in the opening frame before either team got on the board. The Walleye struck first on Mitchell Heard’s fourth goal of the season, putting the Fish up, 1-0. Conlan Keenan and Chris Martenet assisted on the goal.

Indy’s Jordan Schneider entered the penalty box with 11:07 gone, putting Toledo on the power play. The Walleye did not convert with the man advantage, but Ian Parker found the back of the net at the 13:48 mark to extend the lead to two. The goal, assisted by Cole Fraser, was Parker’s first goal with the Walleye and seventh of the season. Fraser entered the box for high sticking three minutes later, but the Fish earned the penalty kill to protect their lead heading into the intermission.

The Fish scored five minutes into the second period, adding to their lead on a Randy Gazzola goal from Parker and Brady Tomlak. The score was Gazzola’s first of the night, giving the Walleye a three-goal advantage. Another 13 minutes went by before Toledo scored again as Brandon Schultz found the back of the net. Brandon Hawkins and Devon Paliani assisted as the Fish took their largest lead of the night on the 4-0 advantage.

Mitchell Heard picked up a roughing minor with 31 seconds remaining in the middle frame, and the Fuel made the Walleye pay as Jared Thomas scored his first goal of the night with 15 seconds left in the period. Mike Lee and Jan Mandát assisted on the power play goal, making the score 4-1 as time wound down in the second period.

Neither team scored until the second half of the third period when Thomas scored again to bring Indy within striking distance. Brycen Martin and Darien Craighead tallied the assists as the Fuel narrowed the score to 4-2.

Brandon Schultz only waited 1:31 after Indy’s goal to light the lamp for the second time. Tomlak assisted Schultz for his second assist of the game, while Schultz tallied his eighth goal on the season. The Toledo lead extended to three once again on the score.

Just over two minutes later, Craighead scored for the Fuel to bring Indy back within two. Karl El-Mir and Christopher Cameron assisted, and Indy looked to close the gap further with 4:28 remaining in regulation.

Indy’s chance to cut into Toledo’s lead came late in the third period as Michael Lackey emptied the net with 4:06 to play, bringing on the extra skater. However, things did not work out as planned for the Fuel as Randy Gazzola received a pass from Mitchell Heard and sent the puck to the other end, finding the empty net with 1:15 remaining. The goal was Gazzola’s second of the game and eighth of the season. The Fish secured the 6-3 victory to earn their third with over Indy in the last six days.

The Walleye were outshot by a 12-shot margin in the contest but connected on 24% of their shots to Indy’s 8%. Indy secured five power play opportunities, converting once, while Toledo was scoreless in four chances with the man advantage.

Kaden Fulcher picked up the win in his first game for Toledo since Dec. 11. He saved a season-high 34 shots while giving up three goals. Michael Lackey took the loss for Indy, saving 13-of-16 shots in 37:09 after relieving Mitch Gillam after the first period.

What’s Next: 

The Walleye return home to face the Iowa Heartlanders Friday as part of Nickelodeon Night featuring SpongeBob SquarePants. Puck drop from the Huntington Center is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.

Three Stars:

  1. Toledo – Ian Parker (goal, assist)
  2. Toledo – Brandon Schultz (two goals)
  3. Indy – Jared Thomas (power play goal, equal strength goal)

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