Evansville, Ind. – History was made on Friday night at the Ford Center as the Evansville IceMen produced two never-before-seen feats against the Toledo Walleye. Never had there been a hat-trick performance by an IceMen player in front of a Ford Center crowd, until Left Winger Wade MacLeod, in his first ever game with Evansville, accomplished the feat with a power play goal coming 1:37 into to third period. The lone assist on MacLeod’s history-making missile was from IceMen Defenseman Sean Whitney. MacLeod’s third goal became the eventual game-winner, giving him the first star honor.
In the same night an IceMen player recored the first hat-trick in Ford Center history, the second player to accomplish the honor took his spot in the record books. IceMen Center Nathan Moon scored his hat-trick goal just under two minutes later at the 2:58 mark of the third period. The lone assist on Moon’s spot in history came from IceMen Center Jason Dale.
Two mammoth performances by two IceMen forwards overshadowed a three-goal outpouring by Evansville in less than a minute’s time on the game clock in the second period. The IceMen trailed 4-2 early in the frame when MacLeod started the offensive rash of wicket-splitters, his second of the game, came 14:56 into the period. Moon followed with his second of the game at the 15:25 point of the period. Accomplishing the third straight goal for the IceMen was Right Winger Sebastian Wannstrom with his first with Evansville. Wannstrom made his IceMen debut Wednesday night in Cincinnati.
Evansville’s Moon opened the scoring for the IceMen 2:12 into the game. The first assist on the first of thirteen total goals scored on Friday were from IceMen Defenseman Daniel Tetrault. Forward Dylan Clarke notched his first of four assists on the night, earning him the game’s third star. The goal capped a dominant opening two minutes for the IceMen, giving them the early 1-0 lead.
The Walleye responded just over two minutes later with a goal from Right Winger Luke Glendening, who scored his team-leading 13th goal of the season. Toledo Left Winger Terry Broadhurst and Defenseman Phil Roach assisted on the first Walleye tally of the game.
MacLeod began his scoring frenzy at the 13:58 mark of the first period, giving the IceMen a 2-1 lead. Assisting on MacLeod’s first IceMen goal was Defenseman Brett Ponich and returning team captain, Center Todd Robinson.
The Evansville lead lasted less than two minutes as Toledo Left Winger Willie Coetzee found twine for the ninth time this season. Toledo Center Joel Martin tallied one of his three points on the night with the first assist on the equalizing goal that tied the game at two apiece. The second assist was credited to Toledo Right Winger Kyle Rogers.
Martin proceeded to score the next two goals for the Walleye, scoring the second just 56 seconds into the second period. Assists on the two consecutive Martin goals were Toledo Center Adam Hobson, Coetzee, and Rogers. The markers gave Toledo a 4-2 lead early in the second period.
It was soon after when the IceMen took ownership of the momentum, going on their three-goals in one minute assault on the Walleye. Evansville then proceeded to score the following two net-seekers. making it five unanswered overall before Toledo stopped the bleeding 7:10 into the third period. Toledo Defenseman Wes O’Neill tallied the final Walleye goal on the night. The Walleye goal made it a 7-5 game.
Whatever life the Walleye regained following the O’Neill goal was taken back by Evansville’s Dale, who shut the door on Toledo just over a minute later, officially 8:30 into the final frame. Dale’s fourth goal of the season was assisted by IceMen Right Wingers Patrick Kennedy and Jim McKenzie.
With the win, the IceMen are in a tie for fourth place in the ECHL’s North Division. The Kalamazoo Wings lost in a shootout in Cincinnati on Friday, giving them a point in the standings. Both Evansville (9-14-2) and Kalamazoo (9-10-2) each have 20 points on the season. Toledo falls to 23(13-9-1)27 on the season. Evansville has received seven of eight possible points during the last four games and have won three games in a row at the Ford Center.
Making the start for the IceMen was Goaltender Paul Karpowich, but was pulled at the first intermission after giving up three goals on 13 shots. Karpowich was replaced by IceMen Goaltender Allen York, who saved 20-of-22 shots faced. York finished with a .909 save percentage.
The IceMen went 1-for-4 on the power play, equally a 25% rate of success. Evansville’s penalty killing unit allowed just one goal on seven Walleye man-advantage opportunities.
Evansville hosts Cincinnati tomorrow night, Dec. 8, as the Cyclones visit the Ford Center for the first time. Tomorrow night’s ‘Teddy Bear Toss’ game is scheduled to begin at 7:15 p.m. and can be heard on ‘Magic 98.5’ FM and 1400 AM WEOA, as well as the rest of the IceMen Radio Network.