INDIANAPOLIS - The Indy Fuel (13-13-0-0) fell victim to a third period rally from the Toledo Walleye (19-5-2-0) on Friday, as Toledo skated to a 6-5 come-from-behind victory at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Up 4-3 after two periods, the Fuel surrendered three goals in a span of 3:56 in the late stages of the final frame, as the Walleye snapped Indy's four game winning streak on home ice.
Just over two minutes after Toledo's Dan DeSalvo made it 4-4 at the 14:10 mark of the third, a net-front scrum in front of the Fuel net led to the Walleye's go-ahead goal. Fuel defenseman Zach Miskovic was called for covering a loose puck in the goal crease, giving Toledo's A.J. Jenks a penalty shot on goaltender Matt Tomkins (29 saves). Jenks made no mistake, snapping a shot between Tomkins' legs to put the Walleye up 5-4 with 3:28 left in regulation time.
T.J. Hensick (1g, 2a) wrapped up a three-point night with an empty net insurance marker at 18:06, before Indy's Kevin Dufour pulled the home team back to within one with a power play goal in the final minute of regulation. The Fuel pressed for the late equalizer, but Toledo found a way to hang on, evening the 2018-19 season series between the Central Division rivals at two games apiece.
The loss spoiled a career night for Fuel rookie forward Mathew Thompson, who tallied two goals and two assists. Dufour (2g) and Olivier Labelle (2a) also recorded multi-point nights for Indy, which fell to 10-4 this season at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
What turned out to be a high-scoring affair started with three combined goals in the first 3:03 of regulation time. The Walleye grabbed a 1-0 lead just 42 seconds into play when Ryan Obuchowski finished a back door pass from Hensick in transition. Less than a minute later, Thompson deposited his own rebound behind Toledo netminder Kaden Fulcher (13 saves) to tie the game for the Fuel. Indy made it 2-1 when Ryan Rupert took a cross-ice feed from brother Matt and beat Fulcher from the right face-off dot.
The Fuel stretched their lead to 3-1 at 8:49 of the opening frame when Dufour and Thompson connected on the rush. After beating a Toledo defender at the offensive blue line, Thompson slid a pass to Dufour, who found the five-hole on Fulcher. With the two-goal performance, Dufour takes Indy goal scoring lead with 12 markers on the season. Greg Wolfe cut the Fuel lead in half at 15:34 of the first, firing a shot from the slot through a screen in front of Tomkins.
The two teams again traded goals in quick succession in the second period. Toledo knotted the game at three at 4:38 of the middle frame when defenseman Kevin Tansey jumped on a loose puck, fought off a Fuel defender and threw a wrist shot over Tomkins' glove. The tie lasted only a little over two minutes, before Thompson put Indy back on top 4-3 at 6:57. The forward took a drop pass from Labelle at center, skated his way down the right half wall, and threw a sharp angle shot that found its way through Fulcher.
Indy finished the night 1-for-3 on the power play, while holding the Walleye scoreless on three opportunities.
Finding themselves back at the .500 mark and at the bottom of the ultra-competitive Central Division standings, the Fuel look to bounce back Saturday as they head to Michigan for a pivotal game against the Kalamazoo Wings. Puck drop from Wings Event Center is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.
Single-game tickets are now on sale for the Fuel's 5th anniversary season at Indiana Farmers Coliseum! Lock up your seat for every second of the action at Indiana Farmers Coliseum with a Fuel Ticket Plan - grab yours by heading to IndyFuelHockey.com or by calling the Fuel front office at 317-925-FUEL. Don't forget to follow the Fuel on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (IndyFuel) for news, updates, contests and much more throughout the 2018-19 season.
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