The Indy Fuel had a very solid start to their franchise’s history, beating the Alaska Aces 3-1 Tuesday in an exhibition game in Anchorage.
Sean Bonar – with the Fuel on a tryout contract – got the start in goal and was solid, stopping 25 shots to get the victory, only allowing a late third-period tally. Meanwhile, Taylor Law and Rhett Bly scored second-period goals, and Bryon Paulazzo added a third-period tally.
Law’s goal came on a long feed from Zach Sternberg on the power play at 3:40 of the second. Bly scored the game-winner at 17:30 of the second, burying a rebound after Alaska goalie Andy Iles stuffed Kenton Miller’s shot. Paulazzo scored on a feed from Johnny McGuire below the goal line that banked off someone in front of the net — it is listed on the boxscore as Paulazzo’s goal, although the radio broadcast stated McGuire banked it in off a skate. As of the time this is being written, the goal officially belongs to Paulazzo.
While it’s hard to base opinions off a radio broadcast (although Tony Brown’s call on WXNT-1430 did a great job of painting the picture), the Fuel spent much of the night carrying the play and establishing a forecheck. The Fuel were playing a game after practicing as a full team for the first time this morning, and will have another look Wednesday night (11:15 p.m. EDT, WXNT-1430) against the same Aces club. It’s hard to draw much from the first game, because the main goal at this point is evaluating players, combinations and seeing who is going to do what.
The special teams produced a power play goal in four attempts, and the PK was 2/3.
1. Sean Bonar (IND) 25 saves
2. Rhett Bly (IND) GWG, 4 shots, +1
3. Taylor Law (IND) goal
Forwards: The starting line was Brett Perlini-Mike Duco-Pete Massar. Dean Chelios, Rhett Bly, Klarc Wilson, Corrado Mancini, Taylor Law, Matt White, Johnny McGuire, Bryon Paulazzo and Kenton Miller were the other forwards in different combos.
Defensemen: Anders Franzon-Ildar Telyakov started the game. Nick Bruneteau-Paul Swindlehurst and Kirill Gotovets-Zach Sternberg were other pairings, although the six D saw different combos throughout the game.
Goaltenders: Bonar had the full 60 minutes tonight. Mac Carruth was the backup and will get the start on Wednesday.
Scratches: Forwards Patrick Cullen and Garrett Klotz; defensemen Nick Jones, Mathieu Brisebois and Justin Holl. Defenseman Kyle Follmer did not make the trip, per Fuel Tony Brown’s pregame report. Robert Czarnik has been in the St. John’s camp.
- You never quite know what a team’s going to look like when it steps onto the ice, but the Fuel dominated the shots 15-6 in the first period, and outshot the Aces 33-26. 17 different skaters had shots on goal, with Brett Perlini leading the way with five of the 33 shots. Rhett Bly had four and Kirill Gotovets — who quarterbacked the PP — had three.
- The players on tryout agreements had solid nights – Bryon Paulazzo had a goal and two shots, Ildar Telyakov started the game on defense, Corrado Mancini was a +1, and Bonar was solid in net, getting the victory in his professional debut.
- It’s a game of firsts. Taylor Law had the first goal, Zach Sternberg the first assist. Johnny McGuire had the first fight. Anders Franzon took the first penalty.
- Bonus: Mike Duco, Anders Franzon and Brett Perlini wore the “A”s tonight.
- The ECHL’s Tuesday-night transaction list noted two players being assigned to the Fuel — forward Jamie Wise (from Rockford) and defenseman Nick Jones (from Worcester/San Jose). Jones was announced as a scratch on Tuesday night. Wise is a 6-foot, 205-pound left-shot forward. He is a 21-year-old rookie who is on an AHL contract with Rockford. Wise had a team-best 45 points for Ryerson University in Toronto (bonus points – they play their home games in the top floor of the old Maple Leaf Gardens) last season. Jones is a 6-2, 195-pound rookie who played collegiately at Mercyhurst and was the Atlantic Hockey Association’s Defenseman of the Year last season. He is on an AHL deal with Worcester. As the San Jose/Worcester organization is one of two NHL/AHL teams without an ECHL affiliate, they can assign players to any ECHL team.