TOLEDO, OH - With his 36th and 37th goals of the season, Brandon Hawkins became Toledo's newest single-season goal record holder in tonight's 5-4 home victory over Indy.
Heading into their final regular season matchup against Indy, the Walleye own a 4-1-0 record over the Fuel. With only seven minutes gone in the opening period, Indy led the game 2-0 thanks to goals from Andrew Bellant and Alex Wideman just 1:15 apart. Toledo responded with three unanswered goals in the remainder of the first period. The first, Brandon Hawkins' team-leading 36th of the season at 10:18, tied him with former Walleye Kyle Bonis for the single-season goal record. Ryan Cox and Gordie Green picked up the assists on Hawkins' marker.
Andrew Sturtz was next to light the lamp for Toledo at 15:16 with the assistance of Sam Craggs. TJ Hensick joined the fun just 1:11 later with his first goal since rejoining the Walleye last month in March. Jon McDonald and Thomas Ebbing picked up the helpers. The first penalty of the night came against McDonald for sending the puck out of play just 12 seconds later. At the conclusion of period one, the Walleye owned a 3-2 lead and a 12-11 advantage in shots.
To open up the second period, Indy's Colin Bilek made it a tie game with just 13 seconds gone. Toledo got their first power play of the night late in the fourth minute as Kirill Chaika headed to the Indy box for cross-checking. Just 19 seconds later, Brandon Hawkins made Toledo hockey history, becoming the newest single-season goal record holder with his 37th of the season. TJ Hensick and Gordie Green both picked up their second point of the night with the assists. Three more penalties came in the middle period, two to Indy and one to Toledo, but the Walleye lead remained after 40 minutes.
Less than a minute into the third period, Toledo's Andrew Sturtz and Indy's Alex Wideman each received roughing minors following a scuffle in the Fuel zone. At the 5:09 mark, Walleye Sam Craggs squared up with Indy's Andrew Bellant, resulting in fighting majors for both men and 4-on-4 hockey. The Fuel got their third power play opportunity at 12:43 as Brandon Hawkins received a cross-checking minor. Two minutes after killing off the penalty, Toledo took a two-goal lead after Sam Craggs tipped Jake Willets' blue line shot past Indy netminder Zach Driscoll. Andrew Sturtz notched his second point of the night earning an assist on the final Walleye goal.
With 2:30 left to play, Driscoll headed to the Indy bench for the extra skater. This man advantage brought Indy within one after Max Golod scored at 18:41. After a stellar save by Sebastian Cossa at 19:44, Toledo's Riley McCourt and Indy's Colin Bilek headed to their respective boxes with roughing minors. Despite the Fuel taking the final advantage of 37-24 in the shot department, Toledo took the game, ending their season schedule against Indy with a 5-1-0 record.
- Brandon Hawkins bypassed former Walleye forward Kyle Bonis' single-season goal record tonight with his 36th and 37th markers of the season. The forward continues to lead the team in points with 76 (37G, 39A) in 61 games.
- In his fifth game back with Toledo, TJ Hensick notched his first goal along with an assist to bring his point total to four.
- Ryan Cox, the forward out of Niagara University, has registered at least one point in all but one game he has played since joining the Walleye two weeks ago. Tonight, he added an assist to bring his point total to ten (5G, 5A) in just seven games.
Three Stars Sponsored by Local 245:
1) TOL - B. Hawkins (2G)
2) TOL - T. Hensick (1G, 1A)
3) TOL - A. Sturtz (1G, 1A)
The South Carolina Stingrays make their one and only visit to the Huntington Center this season tomorrow at 5:15 p.m. to close out the weekend.