INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Mitchell Heard found the back of the net with 46 seconds remaining in regulation to send Wednesday night’s contest with the Indy Fuel to overtime, but the Fuel scored 32 seconds into the sudden death overtime period to hand the Toledo Walleye the 5-4 loss.
The Walleye trailed by two midway through the contest but came back to tie the game three times before heading to the overtime period. Despite the loss, the Fish added one point to bring their season total to 98 with two games remaining in the regular season.
The Walleye and Fuel played an evenly matched first period as the Fuel took 11 shots to Toledo’s ten, but Indy score the lone goal of the frame to take the 1-0 lead. Darien Craighead found the back of the net for the 27th time this season at the 15:56 mark to put Indy on the board. Paul Meyer and Bryan Lemos assisted.
Neither team picked up a penalty until the 3:32 mark in the second period as Randy Gazzola and Riley McKay each picked up roughing penalties. Toledo and Indy played two minutes of 4-on-4 hockey before returning to full strength with 5:32 gone.
The Walleye earned their first power play opportunity of the game on a Seamus Malone interference penalty at the 10:11 mark. As the power play was set to expire, Riley McKay found the back of the net for a shorthanded goal at 12:11 as Darien Craighead assisted. The goal put the Fuel up, 2-1, just past the midway point of the contest.
Toledo looked to get on the board with the middle frame ticking away, and Patrick Curry delivered, scoring on a wide open net after a pass across by Brett Boeing with 19:56 gone. Cam Clarke collected the secondary assist as the Walleye trimmed the Fuel lead back to one heading into the final period.
The Walleye and Fuel alternated goals throughout the third period, starting with Sam Craggs at the 2:20 mark. Craggs carried the puck across the red line on a pass from Preston and scored from the left circle to net his first professional goal. The goal brought the Fish even with the Fuel for the first time in the contest.
Just over three minutes later, Jan Mandát scored an equal strength goal to put the Fuel back in front. Keoni Texeira and Bryan Lemos assisted on the goal at the 5:49 mark.
That lead lasted 65 seconds before Cole Fraser found the back of the net to tie the game again. Matt Berry and Jesse Mychan assisted as Fraser collected his fifth goal of the year.
With 9:10 gone, the Walleye returned to the power play after Texeira was called for elbowing Quinn Preston. Texeira and Conlan Keenan were also handed five-minute majors for the fight that followed. The Fish could not score on the power play, and Indy returned to full strength at 11:10.
At 13:58, Chris Martenet picked up a cross-checking penalty to put the Fuel on their first power play of the game. The Fuel took advantage at the 14:29 mark to retake the lead once again. Chad Yetman recorded the goal, and Jared Thomas and Seamus Malone added the assists as the Fuel took the 4-3 lead.
The Walleye pulled Billy Christopoulos at 18:15 to bring on the extra skater, and the advantage paid off as Mitchell Heard scored an equal strength goal with 46 seconds left to tie the game at four. Randy Gazzola collected the lone assist as the Walleye sent the game to overtime.
The 3-on-3 overtime period lasted a mere 32 seconds as the Fuel connected on their first shot to earn the 5-4 win on home ice. Keoni Texeira netted the game winner and Jan Mandát assisted as Indy secured the victory in the final contest of the ten-game season series.
The Walleye and Indy each took 32 shots on net in the contest while the Walleye led in power play opportunities, 3-2. The Fuel scored on one of their two chances with the man advantage while the Walleye gave up a shorthanded goal in the second period.
Mitch Gillam earned the win in net for the Fuel, saving 28-of-32 shots in 60:32 of ice time. Billy Christopoulos was credited with the loss in a 27-save performance for the Walleye.
The Walleye travel to Kalamazoo to take on the Wings in the last road game of the regular season Friday night. Puck drop from Wings Event Center is set for 7 p.m.
- Indy – Keoni Texeira (game-winning goal, assist)
- Indy – Darien Craighead (goal, assist)
- Indy – Bryan Lemos (two assists)