FORT WAYNE, INDIANA - The Walleye earned their second straight divisional victory tonight in Fort Wayne as they dominated the Komets by a score of 8-2.
Sebastian Cossa got his 21st start in the Toledo net tonight and his fifth against the neighboring Komets. Max Milosek, the former Walleye netminder, got his second start for Fort Wayne this evening. His first was also against Toledo last Friday, December 30 at the Huntington Center.
The first man advantage opportunity of the night went to the Walleye as Oliver Cooper tripped up Cédric Lacroix at the Toledo blue line just over three minutes in. Two minutes passed and the Fish still had yet to get a shot on the Fort Wayne net. With 24 seconds remaining on the Komets penalty kill, Anthony Petruzzelli beat Cossa for a short-handed goal that put Fort Wayne on the board with just under five minutes past. The first Toledo shot came from captain John Albert exactly one minute after the Komets goal. Less than a minute passed before Walleye defenseman Riley McCourt found the top shelf following a pass from Trenton Bliss that split two Fort Wayne defenders. With 6:29 gone, the teams were tied at a goal apiece.
The Komets got their first chance on the power play four minutes later as Cole Fraser received a slashing minor. The Walleye outshot the Komets by a count of 2-1 on the penalty kill. The scoring action in the first frame concluded at 13:57 as Brett Boeing tipped a Mitchell Heard shot from the top of the left circle. Gordi Myer picked up the second assist on the equal-strength goal. After 20 minutes, Toledo had the 10-6 edge in shots.
Early in the second, Fort Wayne's Anthony Petruzzelli notched his second goal of the night to match Toledo's two goals. The Komets quickly saw their hopes of taking the lead diminish as Toledo soon picked up three goals in under three minutes. Starting at the 3:51 mark, Mitchell Heard bounced the puck off Milosek from behind the net as he rebounded a shot that he had previously sent wide. Cole Fraser picked up the lone assist on the game-winner. Gordie Green took the next two Toledo goals, the first being a one-timer off a John Albert pass. Cédric Lacroix picked up the second helper. The same offensive line struck again just 37 seconds later to give Toledo an assuring 5-2 lead. It was after this fourth Toledo goal that Fort Wayne's Max Milosek was replaced by Ryan Fanti.
Toledo picked up two more penalties in the remainder of the second. Charlie Curti headed to the box for a high-sticking minor at 13:24 and Riley McCourt received a minor for holding the stick of a Fort Wayne opponent at 17:28. Nonetheless, the Walleye outshot the Komets for the second straight period, finishing three of their 15 while Fort Wayne finished one of their 11.
It was a quiet start to the final period until Fort Wayne's Blake Siebenaler and Mitchell Heard dropped the gloves early in the eighth minute. Matching roughing minors were assigned and a 4-on-4 period followed. Toledo's goal streak continued four minutes later when Gordie Green worked the puck out of the Walleye zone. Green found Ebbing who made his way through the neutral zone to feed a wide-open Trenton Bliss who lasered the puck past Fanti. Just 34 seconds later, Brandon Hawkins made it 7-2 on a shot from the left of the Fort Wayne goal. Sam Craggs and Trenton Bliss registered the assists.
As the clock wound down, Fort Wayne's physicality picked up. Late in the 14th minute, Toledo's Brandon Hawkins and Fort Wayne's Neil Robinson had an altercation that resulted in matching roughing minors and the addition of another roughing minor and misconduct for Hawkins. Under two minutes later, Walleye defenseman Cole Fraser got caught up with Oliver Cooper. Both players ended up with two roughing minors apiece. To conclude the penalty action, Fort Wayne's Mark Rassell received a holding minor at the 16:42 mark. Tye Felhaber also headed to the Komets box to serve a bench minor that was issued at the same time.
Gordie Green capped off the night with a hat trick after a power play goal with just over two minutes remaining. Conlan Keenan and Ryan Lowney picked up the final assists in a successful night for the Walleye on the road.
- Allowing only two Fort Wayne goals, Sebastian Cossa ended the night with a 0.931 save percentage.
- In his 100th ECHL game, Gordie Green scored three goals in a four-point night. This marked the first hat trick for a Walleye skater this season.
- Conlan Keenan's assist marked his 50th pro point.
- Cédric Lacroix, the forward on a loan from Grand Rapids, notched his first two Walleye points with assists.
- Mitchell Heard (1G, 1A) and Sam Craggs (1A) both extended their three-game point streaks.
- Brandon Hawkins (1G), Trenton Bliss (1G, 2A), Conlan Keenan (1A), Riley McCourt (1G), and Cole Fraser (1A) all extended their two-game point streaks.
- John Albert's first of two assists was the Walleye captain's 100th ECHL point. He also edges closer to the 300 pro-point milestone as he now sits at 294.
Three Stars Sponsored by Local 245:
1) TOL - G. Green (3G, 1A)
2) TOL - T. Bliss (1G, 2A)
3) TOL - M. Heard (1G, 1A)
The Walleye conclude their three-game weekend tomorrow as they host Cincinnati at 5:15 p.m.