Toledo pushes Fuel to brink of elimination in Game 3 victory
Mathew Thompson scores lone Indy goal in 3-1 setbackApr 18, 2018
INDIANAPOLIS – Playing their first ever playoff home game in franchise history Wednesday night at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum, the Indy Fuel bowed to the visiting Toledo Walleye, 3-1. In the process, the first-place finishing Walleye climbed into a commanding 3-games to none lead in the best-of-7 Western Conference Central Division Semi-finals series against the fourth-place finishing Fuel.
Game 3 actually started on a high note for the Fuel as rookie center Matt Thompson continued to make an indelible impression when he connected on his first-ever pro playoff goal, converting at the crease after team captain Mike Neal had powered his way behind the Toledo defense and delivered the puck to the Walleye doorstep. Thompson’s strike came early in the opening stanza at the 2:20 mark. It marked the first time in the series that Indy scored the game’s first goal after the Fuel had delivered the game’s first goal in each of their last 10-games during the regular season.
The Fuel maintained their 1-0 advantage until the 6:18 mark of the second period when Toledo equalized the contest with a two-man advantage on the power play. Left wing Kyle Bonis sizzled home a shot from the right circle’s dot for his first of a pair of key, touch-in-the-clutch strikes with this one tying the game at 1-1 after two periods.
The Game 3 outcome was decided in the third period when Bonis made his second connection on a breakaway while both teams were playing one man short. This strike proved to be the tie-breaking and ultimate game winning goal, coming at 8:08 of that fateful final frame of the game for the Fuel. Center A.J. Jenks cemented the affair for the Toledoans, finding the empty net after the Fuel had lifted goaltender ”ET” Marcoux for the sixth attacker in a gallant attempt to achieve the equalizer and prolong Game #3 to extra time.
For the first time in the series, Toledo outshot the Fuel, 37-32 and 29-19 over the latter two periods. All-Star goaltender Pat Nagle claimed his third straight victory in this series, raising his record to a perfect 10(10-0-0) against the Fuel for both the regular season and playoff post season. Fuel All-Star Marcoux sustained his third consecutive defeat for Indy. The Indy power play was 0-5 and is now 2-13 in the series while the Walleye extra man band was 1-3 and is now 2-8 through the first three games.
The Fuel will play for their season Thursday night when they host Game 4 at 7:05 pm as they seek their first-ever playoff post season victory as a member of the ECHL. Should they succeed, Game # will be this Saturday night, also on home ice at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum, beginning at 7:35 pm.
It’s time to #FindYourNextGear and cheer on the Indy Fuel during the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs! Game 4 of the Central Division Semifinals between the Fuel and Toledo Walleye is on Thursday, April 19 at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Be part of the first playoff appearance in Fuel history by picking up your tickets at IndyFuelHockey.com or at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum box office. Don’t miss a second of the action during the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs – follow the Fuel on Twitter and Instagram (@IndyFuel) and ‘Like’ the Fuel on Facebook.