The Indy Fuel have played some of their best hockey in recent games against the cream of the crop in the ECHL. On Saturday night, they rallied from a three-goal deficit to take a third-period lead and were able to get a standings point in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Florida Everblades.
Pete Massar had two goals and an assist for the Fuel, who had another inspired comeback and completed it to get a standings point on the road against one of the ECHL’s top teams. Indy’s last four games have been against division leaders. Dan Ford tallied his first professional goal for the Fuel and added an assist for his first multi-point game.
Massar also recorded a Gordie Howe hat trick, as he received a fighting major in the first period to go along with his scoresheet tallies.
A late power play goal by Florida’s Adam Brace, who scored on a 6-on-4 with the goalie pulled for an extra attacker, tied the game and sent it into the shootout, where the Everblades outscored the Fuel 2-0.
But what happened in-between was impressive. After falling behind 3-0 after a period, the Fuel started the second period with some big jump, led by forward Pete Massar. The rookie from Vermont, who had recently returned from IR, scored :31 into the second period. He then assisted on Justin Holl’s power play goal at 10:46 of the second, and scored again at 14:28 to tie the game at 3-3.
Defenseman Ford gave the Fuel a 4-3 lead with 3:28 left on a shot through traffic that beat Florida goaltender Allen York. It looked like it might be the game-winner, as Indy had a lot of jump. The Fuel were whistled for a boarding minor with 2:13 to go. The Fuel killed off the first minute and a half of the penalty, but with York pulled and a 6-on-4, Brace was able to net the tying goal.
Both teams had solid chances in OT, but the goaltenders came up big.
Florida jumped out to a 3-0 lead in a first period where the Everblades held a 20-5 shot advantage. Brace scored at 3:45 and 11:27, and Mike Aviani tallied a goal 24 seconds after Brace’s first. Cody Reichard took over in net for the second period and stopped 26 of the 27 shots he faced. Florida outshot the Fuel 48-32, but the shots were dead-even at 27-27 after the first period.
Indy is now 5-12-5 on the year. Florida is 17-3-1.
IndyFuelHockey.com game story
- Adam Brace (FLA) 3 goals, 10 shots, GTG
- Pete Massar (IND) 2G, 1A, +3
- Allen York (FLA) 28 saves, 4GA, win
- Pete Massar has shown signs of being a significant scoring threat when he’s been in the lineup this season, and he broke through in a big way tonight. He tallied his second multi-point game (he also had one on Opening Night against Fort Wayne). Massar now has four goals and three assists in 10 games this season. He was also +3 tonight, as his line was also on the ice for Ford’s go-ahead goal in the third.
- What a time for Dan Ford to score his first professional goal – with 3:28 left in a tie game. Ford has given the Fuel a lot of defensive presence and smarts on the blueline – he was Harvard’s captain last season – and he also tallied his first two professional points.
- Nick Bruneteau was paired with Ford tonight and had two assists – including the primary assist on Ford’s go-ahead goal in the third. Bruneteau now has 12 assists on the season, including eight in the Fuel’s last five games. Tonight marked his third multi-point game in that stretch.
- Another Fuel defenseman, Justin Holl, has been playing solid hockey of late, and he tallied his sixth point since Thanksgiving with a goal tonight. He now has three goals and eight assists.
- Cody Reichard had a really solid outing in relief of Eric Levine. Reichard slammed the door for the first 39 minutes he was in the net against a very good attack.
- Garett Bembridge’s point streak was snapped at six games – a very impressive streak.
- Captain Mike Duco didn’t register a point, but he was +3.
- Florida was 2-3 on the power play. Indy was 1-3 with the man advantage.
- With Nick Jones being recalled to Worcester, Kirill Gotovets went back to the blueline and Travis Ouellette, who was activated from IR earlier in the week, returned to the Fuel lineup. He was +1 and had two shots.
- Indy is now 1-5 in games that go beyond regulation, including 1-3 in shootouts. The Fuel have been in a ton of close games this season — they are now 2-7-5 in games decided by one goal. Add in games that were two-goal games due to empty-netters, the Fuel have had 16 of their 22 games decided by one goal. Nine of the Fuel’s 12 regulation losses (and, obviously, all five OT/SO losses) are by one goal. The team is improving rapidly, and gaining a standings point tonight will hopefully be a springboard into coming weeks.
Again, an approximation, as best as could be gathered from the game sheet & radio broadcast. There were a few deviations – White was with Duco & Massar on the Fuel’s second goal, for example, and Ouellette was with Duco & Massar on the first.
Mike Duco-Patrick Cullen-Pete Massar
Dean Chelios-Matt White-Rhett Bly
Jamie Wise-Robert Czarnik-Garett Bembridge
Dan Ford-Nick Bruneteau
Anders Franzon-Dillon Fournier
Kirill Gotovets-Justin Holl
Roster moves: As noted above, D Nick Jones was recalled by the AHL’s Worcester Sharks one day after being assigned to the Fuel. Travis Ouellette took his place in the lineup.
Up next: The Fuel finish the three-game Florida roadtrip on Monday night in Orlando against the Solar Bears (12-11-2). Puck drops at 7 p.m. Broadcast WXNT-1430. The team returns home Wednesday against Reading for Star Wars Night at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. On Friday, the Fuel host Toledo.