Game 3: Fuel at Fort Wayne

The Indy Fuel and Fort Wayne Komets both are aiming to be among the top teams in the ECHL Midwest Division this season.

If the first of their 11 regular-season meetings is any indication, it’s going to be quite a tussle.

The Fuel and Komets found themselves locked in a tight goaltender’s duel before Fort Wayne’s Alex Belzile scored midway through the third in a 3-0 Komets victory. Fort Wayne added two late empty-netters to seal it.

Fort Wayne’s Spencer Martin stopped 21 shots in his first pro shutout.

The Fuel suffered their first loss of the season and are now 2-1-0 on the year. Fort Wayne is 3-0-0. The two teams will play again Saturday night in Fort Wayne, with a 7:30 p.m. puck drop (WXNT-1430), the third game in a four-game road swing for the Fuel.

The winning goal came on a play where Belzile shot and Fuel goaltender Shane Owen made the save. But the clearing attempt bounced off an Indy skate and into the net to give the Komets a 1-0 lead with 11:45 left. Old friend Mike Embach and Trevor Cheek scored empty-netters in the final 1:01 to seal the victory for the hosts.

Cheek had a goal and an assist to tally a two-point night for Fort Wayne.

Owen made 26 saves on 27 shots in a hard-luck loss. He has stopped 55 of the 58 shots he has seen this season.

Indy was 0-for-3 with the man advantage. Fort Wayne was 0-for-4 on the PP.

Boxscore

3 stars

  1. Spencer Martin (FTW) 21 saves, SHO
  2. Alex Belzile (FTW) GWG
  3. Trevor Cheek (FTW) ENG, A

Takeaways

  1. A lot of good to take from this despite the final score. Again, it confirms the fact that the Fuel have built pretty solidly from the net out, having played two teams that were among the top teams in the ECHL last year, and likely will be among the contenders this season, and holding them to three goals (minus empty-netters) in two games is big.
  2. As noted above, Shane Owen has stopped 55 of 58 shots. Mac Carruth snagged 33 of 34 in his start last Saturday, giving the Fuel goaltenders a .957 save percentage in three games – with tonight’s goal coming off a fluky bounce. That says a lot not just about the goaltending, but the defense.
  3. This game snapped a 12-game scoring streak for the Fuel. They were last shut out by Jeff Jakaitis on March 20 at South Carolina (4-0). The Fuel’s longest scoring streak is 36 games, from Dec. 20, 2014 through March 18, 2015.
  4. Rookies Cody Sharib and Reed Seckel made their Fuel debuts. Seckel had two shots on goal. Sharib was involved in a second period scoring chance, but had no shots. It was Sharib’s pro debut. Another newcomer to the lineup was defenseman Dillon Fournier, who played part of the 2014-15 season with the Fuel. He had a pair of shots in his first ECHL outing of the season.
  5. Alex Lavoie and Garett Bembridge led the Fuel with three shots each.
  6. Indy’s PP has been pretty solid in the season, but had a 91-second 5-on-3 in the first period that was unsuccessful. The Fuel had three PPs, all coming in the span of seven minutes of the first period. The Fuel are now 2-6 on the PP.
  7. The Fuel PK continues to be solid. Against a potent Komets offensive unit, the Fuel killed off all four Fort Wayne PPs and are 12-for-13 on the year (and are two seconds from being perfect).
  8. Dylan Clarke is certainly fearless. Despite giving up three inches and 70 pounds in the tale of the tape, Clarke dropped the gloves with Fort Wayne’s towering defenseman Cody Sol 11 minutes into the game. It’s Clarke’s third fight in the last two games, and Sol received the extra minor from the play, putting the Fuel on the PP.
  9. The Fuel are now 2-4-1 at Fort Wayne, but five of the seven games have been decided by one goal, once empty-netters are factored out. The other two were two-goal games irrespective of ENGs.

Lineup
Lines based on the gamesheet

Daniel Ciampini-Kyle Stroh-Garett Bembridge
Alex Lavoie-Dylan Clarke-Peter Schneider
Cody Sharib/Matt White-Rhett Bly-Reed Seckel

Kevin Quick-Anders Franzon
Dillon Fournier-Zach Miskovic
Nick Mattson-Ben Marshall

Shane Owen
BU: Mac Carruth

Scratches: Patrick Koudys, Josh Brittain (reserve), David Pszenyczny (IR)

Next up: The Fuel and Komets resume their series on Saturday. After a trip to Kalamazoo on Tuesday, the Fuel return home to face Fort Wayne on Oct. 30.