Playing their fourth game in four cities in five nights, the Indy Fuel had a critical two points ahead of them against a surging Greenville Road Warriors team Saturday.
Not only did they get them, the Fuel did so in emphatic fashion, zooming past the Road Warriors 6-1 at WesBanco Arena.
The victory snapped a four-game skid for the Fuel, and pulled them within one point of a playoff spot in the ECHL’s North Division with nine games to play.
Kyle Stroh had two goals and an assist, Peter Schneider had his first professional goal, Garett Bembridge had three assists and five Fuel players had multi-point games in the victory.
Shane Owen made 37 saves in the Fuel net to get the victory.
The Fuel got going quickly when Mike Duco scored on a feed from Pete Massar just 83 seconds into the game. The 1-0 lead stood up through the first period, but Indy put the game away in the second. Jamie Wise scored five minutes into the second period, and Schneider followed up with a goal 1:34 later from Stroh and Justin Holl to make it 3-0. Greenville had a PPG later in the period, but Stroh made it 4-1 late in the second with his 20th goal of the year.
Stroh and Matt White scored third-period goals to extend the lead.
All six Fuel tallies came at even strength.
In addition, all of the other teams the Fuel are battling with for playoff position lost Saturday, so Indy gained two points on the field. The Fuel are now 26-28-9 with nine games to play – and six of the next seven at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
- Kyle Stroh (Fuel) 2G, A, +4
- Garett Bembridge (Fuel) 3A, +3
- Shane Owen (Fuel) 37 saves, 1 GA
- One of the biggest games of the season yields one of the best responses. Greenville had swept Cincinnati in two games prior to Saturday, so the Road Warriors had been hot and home, but a big response for the Fuel.
- The victory tonight tied a team record for goals in a game with six – previously set Dec. 5 in a 7-6 loss to Florida – and set a team record for victory margin with five. The previous record margin was four set in an Oct. 24 5-1 win over Missouri.
- The DeSousa-Stroh-Bembridge line had a combined two goals and six assists, with all three players collecting multi-point games. DeSousa had two assists, Stroh 2G/A and Bembridge 3 assists. Stroh’s 2-goal game was the first for a Fuel player since Bembridge scored twice March 8 at Kalamazoo. Stroh and Bembridge had the first 3-point games since Pete Massar did so Feb. 28 in Fort Wayne. Stroh was +4, the other two +3.
- Bembridge had his first 3-assist and 3-point game since Dec. 3, when he had a goal and 3 assists against Evansville. He has tallied a point in 11 of his last 15 games. It was also Justin Holl’s first multi-point game since that night against Evansville, as he had two assists.
- Stroh became the second Fuel player to top the 20-goal plateau this season as he had his 20th and 21st (13th/14th with the Fuel) this season. He started the year with seven goals in Rapid City. He and linemate Garett Bembridge (25) are the 20-goal men. Mike Duco (16) is creeping closer.
- The Fuel have had two college signees in the last month, and each has provided a big start. Chris DeSousa had a two-point game in his first pro game, and now has 11 points in 12 games. Peter Schneider had it in his second – he scored to make it 3-1, and also had the second assist on White’s third-period goal.
- As one might expect when there’s a 6-0 goal differential at even strength, pluses across the board. Stroh +4, DeSousa/Bembridge/Vossen/Jones/Holl were all +3. Franzon/Schneider/White were all +2. Eleven of the 16 skaters also registered a point.
- Evan Vossen skated on defense tonight with Justin Holl and was, as noted, +3 on the evening.
- For the second straight night, Matt White led the team in shots with six. White – the only player to suit up in all 63 games for the Fuel this season – also scored his 10th goal of the season.
- Jamie Wise, who has spent much of the year with AHL Rockford, scored his second goal of the year, and tallied his fourth point in eight games since returning to Indy. His first goal came in the Fuel’s second game – Oct. 18 at Fort Wayne.
- Shane Owen’s 37 saves were the second-most for him since coming to the Fuel. His high is 41, and both have come in Fuel victories.
- The Fuel took five of a possible six points against Greenville this season – all on the road – going 2-0-1 in the season series against the Road Warriors. Greenville is the lone Eastern Conference team that does not visit the Indiana Farmers Coliseum this year.
Based on the gamesheet.
Chris DeSousa-Kyle Stroh-Garett Bembridge
Mike Duco-Nicklas Lindberg-Pete Massar
Jamie Wise-Matt White-Rhett Bly
Saverio Posa-Nick Bruneteau
Anders Franzon-Nick Jones
Evan Vossen-Justin Holl
BU: Mac Carruth
Scratches: Garrett Klotz, Dan Ford, Johnny McGuire (res), Quinn Sproule (res)
Standings watch: Everything was perfect for the Fuel tonight. Toledo beat Kalamazoo 5-2, Elmira beat Wheeling 2-1, and South Carolina rallied to beat Cincinnati 5-4 in a shootout. All teams are idle until Wednesday, when Wheeling hosts Toledo and Cincinnati hosts South Carolina.
Current standings: 3-Kalamazoo (67pts, 9 games left); 4-Wheeling (62pts, 11GL); 5-Cincinnati (61pts, 10GL), 6-Fuel (61pts, 9GL)
Next up: The Fuel host Reading on Friday and South Carolina on Saturday, beginning a stretch of 3 straight home games and 6 in a 7-game span.