INDIANAPOLIS – Closing their 2016-17 ECHL regular season schedule with a two-games’ home-and-home series against first place Toledo, the Indy Fuel saw their 6-game undefeated streak stopped by the visiting Walleye Friday night in the club’s home finale at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum, 3-2.
In the fourth meeting of the season between the two Central Division rivals and the second of three clashes in the span of 8-days, the Fuel never gained the lead in the contest, though Alex Wideman did tie it temporarily at 1-1 at the 12:53 mark of the opening period when he fired his 22nd goal, earning his 55th point of the campaign. Wideman’s 55th point eclipsed the Fuel standard set last season of 54-points established by Alex Lavoie.
However, just :20 after the Indy All-Star left wing had equalized matter, Toledo seized its second lead of the night and, this one, the Walleye did not relinquish as Kyle Bonis stoked the tie-breaking strike that vaulted the victors back on top.
After Toledo extended its lead to a pair of goals on a power play effort from Nolan Zajac in the middle stanza, the Fuel crept closer when rookie left wing Austin Hervey connected on his first-ever pro goal late in the same frame at 16:08.
The third period was scoreless as both goaltenders, Jake Paterson for the Walleye and Jake Hildebrand for the Fuel pulled off some enormous saves to keep the game close to its conclusion. Toledo outshot Indy, 39-30 in claiming its third triumph in four games against the Fuel.
For the Fuel, the setback marked the end to their 6-games undefeated skein, 6(5-0-1). It was Indy’s first taste of defeat since back on March 24th when they bowed at Greenville, 5-4. In addition, the Fuel had their 4-games’ unbeaten streak at home halted as they absorbed their first loss at Indiana Farmers Coliseum since March 18th when they were conquered by Kalamazoo.
The Fuel will cap the 2016-17 campaign Saturday night in Toledo in an encore engagement with game time set for 7:15 pm and the game broadcast on CBS SPORTS 1430 beginning at 6:50 pm.