TOLEDO, OHIO - The Walleye took another tough loss to the Fort Wayne Komets in their last home game of the calendar year.
Tonight's game concluded this week's home and home series with Fort Wayne. Toledo's last win over the Komets was on November 25 when Brandon Hawkins (3A) and Gordie Green (1G, 2A) each had three-point nights in a 6-3 win at the Huntington Center.
Rookie netminder Sebastian Cossa picked up his 19th ECHL start tonight while Max Milosek, who was released by Toledo on December 15, got the start against his former team. The Komets applied the pressure early, allowing no Toledo shots throughout the opening eight minutes of the game. Fort Wayne secured a penalty kill in the process following an interference call against Oliver Cooper just 2:30 in. The final ten minutes of the opening period were spent mostly in the Fort Wayne zone. With Toledo's strong offensive effort, the first period concluded with shots at eight apiece.
The Walleye carried their energy right into the second period, securing nine shots within the first nine minutes. One of those came on the Toledo power play after Fort Wayne received a bench minor for too many men at the 3:26 mark. The Komets were able to get the penalty kill, but Sam Craggs made it a 1-0 game with his first goal of the season just a minute later. With possession of the puck deep in the Komets zone, Jordan Martin found Chays Ruddy at the blue line. The defenseman's shot rebounded off Milosek's left pad and was poked into the Fort Wayne net by Craggs.
The first Toledo penalty of the night was a tripping call against Sam Craggs at 13:16. With 23 seconds until a Walleye penalty kill, Oliver Cooper got the Komets on the board. This began a defensive breakdown for Toledo as Fort Wayne went on to score three more times in the next six minutes. Filip Engaras was next to score at the 14:24 mark. Toledo's second penalty of the night was a tripping minor against Gordi Myer at 15:59. With 34 seconds past on the Komets man advantage, Oliver Cooper got his second goal of the night to make it 3-1. Forward Luka Burzan closed the scoring in the second period with an equal-strength goal at 18:27.
Exactly four minutes into the final period, Mark Rassell made it 5-1 for the Komets. It was after this goal that John Lethemon entered the game to replace Sebastian Cossa in the Toledo net. Two and a half minutes later, the whistle was blown as Chays Ruddy and Jacob Graves were squaring up at center ice. Both players received five-minute majors and an additional two minutes for removing their helmets. An extra two minutes were added to Graves' penalties for removing his elbow pad. Toledo recorded one shot on the man advantage.
Anthony Petruzzelli scored Fort Wayne's final goal of the night at 8:38, but the Walleye were able to get one back almost three minutes later. Mitchell Heard found Ryan Lowney in the left circle and the defenseman lasered the puck past Milosek. Sam Craggs picked up the second assist on the goal, securing his first multi-point game of the year. After 60 minutes, Fort Wayne ended up with the 29-26 advantage in shots.
The Walleye will head down I-75 tomorrow to play their last game of 2022 on Cincinnati's home ice. Puck drop is slated for 6:00 p.m.