Game 51: Fuel at Elmira

The road has been very kind to the Indy Fuel in 2015.

After dropping their first road game of the year, the Fuel have gone 9-0-2 away from the Indiana Farmers Coliseum (and they’ve been pretty good at home, winning 5 of their last 7 at the Coliseum). They continued that stretch Saturday, leading from wire-to-wire in a 5-2 victory at Elmira.

The win gave the Fuel three points for the weekend and moves them into sole possession of fifth place in the ECHL’s North Division with a 20-23-8 record and 48 points.

Indy led from wire-to-wire, taking a lead just 142 seconds into the game on Kyle Stroh’s 17th goal of the season, then rode an outstanding goaltending performance from Mac Carruth, who stopped 43 shots in the victory.

The Fuel led for all but seven minutes of the game – the game was scoreless until Stroh’s goal, and tied at 1-1 after Ryan Rashid of Elmira scored with less than a minute to go in the second. Indy re-took the lead with two quick power-play goals. With Zach Tolkinen and Matt Tassone in the box, the Fuel had a 5-on-3 early in the second. Nicklas Lindberg cashed in with an unassisted goal at 3:47 of the second. Nick Jones then made it 3-1 with a goal 45 seconds later on the 5-on-4. It was Jones’ second point in as many nights after being returned from AHL Worcester.

The lead stayed at two goals despite an Elmira onslaught in the third period – the Jackals outshot the Fuel 15-5 in the third and 45-25 for the game. The Fuel put the game away with an empty-netter from Pete Massar. Riley Wetmore scored for Elmira with 1:46 left and the Jackals again pulled goaltender Sam Marotta, but again, the Fuel scored into the gaping net, as Vincent Arseneau tallied the dagger to set the margin at 5-2.

Mac Carruth made 43 saves in the victory. Marotta, who played one game for the Indiana Ice as a junior, made 20 saves in his second loss to the Fuel.

Boxscore

Three stars

  1. Mac Carruth (Fuel) 43 saves, 2 GA
  2. Nick Jones (Fuel) GWG, 2 shots
  3. Nicklas Lindberg (Fuel) goal, 2 shots

Takeaways

  1. The incredible 2015 continues. The Fuel are now 14-2-2 in the last 18 games. The 11 straight road games without a regulation loss is the longest in the ECHL this season.
  2. Mac Carruth has allowed 2 or fewer goals in nine of his last 11 starts, a span in which he is 10-1-0. His 43 saves tonight were a season high.
  3. The Fuel’s special teams were solid tonight. They were 2-5 on the PP and scored the two biggest goals of the game with the man advantage. On the other end, the PK was 5-for-5, and was 9-for-9 on the weekend.
  4. Indy was crashing the net big-time tonight. Two of the Fuel’s penalties were for goaltender interference.
  5. Nine different players got on the scoresheet for the Fuel tonight, showing solid balance.
  6. Kyle Stroh had a goal and an assist to snap a two-game scoreless streak. He now has 10 goals and 10 assists in 20 games for the Fuel, making him a point-a-game player. It was his fourth multi-point game since coming to the Fuel. He has tallied a point in 13 of his last 17 games.
  7. Nicklas Lindberg has now tallied a point in five of the last seven games and is 4-3-7 in the seven games in February.
  8. Nick Jones scored his second goal of the season with the Fuel, and has seven points in nine games since being reassigned on Jan. 23 after a long stint in the AHL. He was called up last week, but reassigned this weekend and had a strong two games.
  9. Pete Massar scored an empty-netter to give him a goal for the second straight night. He has a four-game point streak going, and has tallied a point in six of the last seven games and nine of the last 11. He is 8-13-21 for the season, and 3-7-10 in the last 11 games.
  10. Garett Bembridge had an assist and now has points in three of his last four games. The veteran is now 16-15-31 in 41 games with the Fuel.
  11. Vincent Arseneau’s empty-netter snapped a three-game scoreless streak and gave him six goals and nine points in 15 games with the Fuel.
  12. Facing one of the league’s leaders in major penalties, the Fuel dressed both Garrett Klotz and Johnny McGuire. McGuire took a fighting major in the first period against Justin Sawyer, whom Klotz fought last night.
  13. Indy is now 2-0-1 against Elmira with one meeting remaining, at the Coliseum on April 5.

Lineup
Best guess via the scoresheet. Lines a bit more jumbled up due to dressing 11 forwards & 5 D.

Vincent Arseneau-Kyle Stroh-Garett Bembridge
Mike Duco-Nicklas Lindberg-Pete Massar
Evan Vossen-Matt White-Johnny McGuire
Garrett Klotz-Rhett Bly

Justin Holl-Nick Bruneteau
Anders Franzon-Nick Jones
Sam Posa

Mac Carruth
BU: Shane Owen

Scratches: Dean Chelios, Dan Ford

Standings watch: It was a great night for the Fuel, as every other team in the race for the last two spots in the North Division lost in regulation – Wheeling lost 5-0 to Toledo, Kalamazoo lost 7-3 at home to Evansville, and Cincinnati lost 4-1 at home to Reading. Indy is now two-points ahead of sixth-place Wheeling, three back of fourth-place Kalamazoo and five back of third-place Cincinnati. Both Kalamazoo and Wheeling have three games in hand on the Fuel (and both will play one of those GIH when they face each other tomorrow in Wheeling), while Indy and Cincinnati each have 21 games remaining.

Next up: The Fuel have a big four-point game against fourth-place Kalamazoo on Wednesday at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum, before heading to Fort Wayne for two weekend games.