Game 26: Fuel at Fort Wayne

The Indy Fuel will head into the holiday break with a solid effort, but one that fell short in a 3-1 loss to the division-leading Fort Wayne Komets on the road Saturday night.

Fort Wayne scored two power play goals to provide the margin of victory, and Komets goaltender Pat Nagle stopped 29 of 30 Fuel shots. Mike Embach had a goal and an assist for the Komets.

Indy had a solid start to the game, taking a 1-0 lead just 3:52 into the game, when Robert Czarnik scored his 14th of the year on assists from Mike Duco and Dan Ford. Embach tied the game with an even-strength goal at 10:48 of the first, sending the game into the first intermission tied 1-1.

Fort Wayne had four power plays in the second period, and cashed in on two of them, with Eric Faille scoring his 12th of the year at 10:12, and Garrett Meurs tallying his ninth at 19:04.

Nagle stopped all 10 Fuel shots in the second and seven in the third. Indy outshot Fort Wayne 30-26 and outshot the Komets in each period.

Mac Carruth, making his third straight start in net, made 23 saves for the Fuel.

Indy is now 5-16-5. The Fuel next play two games at home Dec. 26-27 against the Cincinnati Cyclones. The puck drops at 7:35 p.m. each night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Fort Wayne is 20-4-1.

ECHL boxscore
IndyFuelHockey.com story

3 stars

  1. Mike Embach (FTW) G, A
  2. Eric Faille (FTW) GWG, 4 shots
  3. Pat Nagle (FTW), 29 saves, 1 GA

Takeaways

  1. Indy’s defense was stronger – one even-strength goal allowed against one of the ECHL’s best teams – and the Fuel got a strong 60-minute effort.
  2. The Fuel dominated the early minutes, getting the game’s first six shots, the first goal and drawing two power plays in the first 12 minutes.
  3. Fort Wayne was able to generate power plays and take advantage of them. The Fuel have been one of the league’s least penalized teams, but tonight, Fort Wayne was 2-6 on the PP, all in the first two periods (including 2-4 in the second). Indy, which entered the week with the ECHL’s second-best power play, was 0-3 on the PP, getting two power plays in the first and one in the third.
  4. Czarnik continues to show his scoring skill, tallying his 14th goal of the season tonight.
  5. Patrick Cullen had a team-high seven shots on goal tonight. Justin Holl, Mike Duco and Dean Chelios had four each.

Lineup
The lines appeared to go through a minor tweak tonight, with Robert Czarnik and Matt White swapping wingers.

Kirill Gotovets-Matt White-Garett Bembridge
Mike Duco-Robert Czarnik-Pete Massar
Dean Chelios-Patrick Cullen-Rhett Bly/Johnny McGuire

Mathieu Brisebois-Dillon Fournier
Anders Franzon-Nick Bruneteau
Dan Ford-Justin Holl

Mac Carruth
B: Jordan Tibbett

Roster moves: Cody Reichard was loaned to the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins Saturday, so Jordan Tibbett was signed as emergency backup.

Next up: After a brief Christmas break, he Fuel will meet the Cincinnati Cyclones on Dec. 26 & Dec. 27. They’ll face Fort Wayne again, on the road, Dec. 31.