FORT WAYNE, IN - The surging Toledo Walleye set a new franchise record as they grabbed their 11th straight win in the hard-fought 5-3 decision tonight over the Komets.
The Walleye kicked off their March schedule tonight on the road against the rival Fort Wayne Komets. Not only did Toledo head into the night undefeated for ten straight games, but they also held a streak of going unbeaten in regulation on the road for 14 games. Toledo's last road regulation loss came on December 28 in Fort Wayne when the Komets took a close 2-1 game.
With just under three minutes gone in tonight's opening period, Joe Masonius put Toledo on an early power play for interference. With 30 ticks left on the Walleye man advantage, Drew Worrad blasted the puck into the back of the Komets net as Ryan Fanti was caught out of his net. Charlie Curti and Brett McKenzie picked up the assists on the opening goal. It only took three more minutes for Drew Worrad to add his second as he tipped Chays Ruddy's blue line shot past Fanti for the 2-0 lead.
Toledo got their second power play opportunity early in the eighth minute as Jacob Graves headed to the Fort Wayne box for hooking. The Walleye went 2-for-2 on the power play after Charlie Curti netted a slapshot from the left faceoff dot. Drew Worrad and Gordi Myer registered the assists on the third Toledo goal.
The Komets got their first power play at 17:05 as Charlie Curti picked up a tripping penalty. With the league's number one road penalty kill, Toledo kept Fort Wayne scoreless and ended period one with a three-goal advantage. Shots were even at 12 going into the second.
Less than two minutes into the middle frame, Toledo defenseman Riley McCourt fell to the ice after taking a high stick from Matthew Boudens. The double minor to Boudens sent the Walleye on the power play for four minutes. The Komets kept Toledo scoreless, but another penalty, this time for too many men at the 6:32 mark, put the Walleye back on the man advantage. This didn't last long as Ryan Lowney headed to the Toledo box with a hooking minor just 16 seconds later.
It was during the 4-on-4 period that Joe Masonius got the Komets on the board with the help of Mark Rassell and Samuel Dove-McFalls. Three minutes later, Joe Masonius sent Toledo on their fifth power play of the night with an interference minor. After securing the penalty kill, the Komets got their second goal at 16:33 thanks to Samuel Dove-McFalls.
Toledo and Fort Wayne went 4-on-4 for the second time a minute later after Conlan Keenan and Oliver Cooper received matching unsportsmanlike conduct minors moments before a faceoff. Shortly after both teams returned to full strength, Adam Brubacher made it a tie game. Despite the Walleye outshooting the Komets by a count of 17-12 in the middle period, the score remained tied after 40 minutes.
It was anyone's game heading into the final period, but Brandon Hawkins made the difference for Toledo at the 4:44 mark with a picture-perfect wrister from the slot. The lone penalty of period three went to Toledo defenseman Chays Ruddy for interference early in the ninth minute. Following another penalty kill, the Walleye held onto their lead to the end, adding an empty-netter with 16 seconds remaining to take their sixth straight road win. The final goal, assisted by Ryan Lowney and Thomas Ebbing, went to rookie forward Kirill Tyutyayev.
- The Walleye have now gone unbeaten in regulation on the road for 15 straight games.
- John Lethemon continued his hot streak with his 12th straight win in the Toledo net.
- Brett McKenzie's assist on the first Toledo goal became his 150th professional point.
- Drew Worrad extended his point streak to four games with three points (2G, 1A) tonight. In those four appearances, the forward has totaled seven points (2G, 5A).
- Brandon Hawkins' game-winning goal extended his point streak to eight games. The forward continues to lead the team in points with 60 (27G, 33A), and he has picked up 14 of those (8G, 6A) in his last eight games.
- Charlie Curti notched his fourth multi-point game with a goal and an assist. The defenseman has totaled 18 points (6G, 12A) in 26 games since joining the Walleye in early January.
Three Stars Sponsored by Local 245:
1) TOL - D. Worrad (2G, 1A)
2) TOL - C. Curti (1G, 1A)
3) FW - S. Dove-McFalls (1G, 2A)
The Walleye will have Friday off and return home on Saturday to host the Iowa Heartlanders for the first night of Pink in the Rink weekend at 7:15 p.m.