The Indy Fuel played the Florida Everblades – arguably the ECHL’s best team – for the second time in eight nights on Friday. And for the second time, the Fuel went toe-to-toe with the Everblades only to see a third-period rally fall short. Florida held off a furious Fuel charge by a 3-2 count Friday in Estero, Fla.
The same two teams will play again Saturday in the second game of the Fuel’s three-game road swing.
Newly-acquired goaltender Adam Levine made his first start for the Fuel, stopping 16 shots in the contest.
Florida jumped out to a 3-0 lead on goals by Adam Brace in the first, and Alex Aleardi and Mitch Wahl in the second. The Fuel responded in the third – holding Florida to just two shots on goal. Matt White scored an unassisted goal at 2:52 for his fifth of the season. Robert Czarnik added his 12th with a breakaway tally at 6:11. The Fuel pushed for the equalizer, and drew a pair of third-period power plays, but Florida’s Allen York was able to turn aside the remaining shots.
Florida held a 19-17 shot advantage, but Indy allowed just four shots in the first and two in the third.
Indy is now 5-12-4. Florida is 16-3-1.
- Adam Brace (FLA) G, +2
- Mitch Wahl (FLA) G, A, +3
- Robert Czarnik (Fuel) G, +1, 3 shots
- Another close one-goal game against one of the league’s best teams, if not the best team, for the Fuel.
- For the seventh straight game, the Fuel won/tied the third period, this time 2-0.
- Levine, who was acquired earlier this week after playing the first part of the season in the SPHL, was solid in net, stopping 16 shots against an excellent team.
- Garett Bembridge’s goal streak was snapped at five games, but his point streak continues, as he and Nick Bruneteau picked up assists on Czarnik’s goal. Bruneteau has been hot lately, having now tallied six assists in his last four games.
- Speaking of streaks, Czarnik is looking to add another. He has tallied a point in two straight games, eight of the last nine and 10 of the last 12. He’s now at 12-9-21 for the year.
- Jamie Wise, Nick Jones and Dillon Fournier returned to the lineup after playing stints in the AHL (Wise/Fournier with Rockford, Jones from Worcester). Wise led the team with four shots.
- Indy was 0-4 with the man advantage. Florida was 0-2. When the teams played last week, Indy scored on four of its six PPs.
- With Garrett Klotz out of the lineup on reserve, Patrick Cullen again wore the “A” as an alternate captain.
Hard to pull forward lines from the box score (even looking at the +/-, it’s difficult), so here’s the best guess at the lineup.
Kirill Gotovets-Robert Czarnik-Garett Bembridge
Mike Duco-Matt White-Pete Massar
Jamie Wise-Patrick Cullen-Rhett Bly
Anders Franzon-Nick Bruneteau
Dan Ford-Justin Holl
Nick Jones-Dillon Fournier
B: Cody Reichard
Next up: The Fuel are in Florida for a Saturday tilt, and then head up to Orlando for a Monday night game.