Game 18: Fuel at Quad City

The Indy Fuel looked to be heading home with two big points in a divisional matchup with Quad City to end their five-game roadtrip.

But the Fuel had to settle for one, as the host Mallards scored twice in the final 30 seconds with the goaltender pulled, then won it on defenseman Austin Coldwell’s goal with 46 seconds left in overtime to beat Indy 3-2.

The Fuel will return home with a 9-7-2 record after gaining one point in the five-game road swing. They’ll play five of their next six – including the next four – at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum, where they are undefeated.

Alex Lavoie scored twice for the Fuel to give Indy a 2-goal lead before the Mallards rallied late. With goaltender Steve Michalek pulled, Ryan Tesink scored with 30 seconds left to cut the lead to one. Matt Neal then got a stick on Sam Warning’s shot with 11 seconds left after a draw in the Fuel zone to tie the game.

Coldwell’s goal came late in the OT period and allowed the Mallards to steal two points.

Indy carried the play early, outshooting QC 10-7 in the first period. Lavoie gave Indy a lead when he split the defense, took a stretch pass from Ben Marshall at the line and beat Michalek to give Indy a 1-0 lead. Mac Carruth was solid, stopping all 17 shots he faced in the first two periods to preserve the advantage.

Lavoie made it 2-0 in the third when Dylan Clarke took the puck in the high slot and found Lavoie open at the side of the net for a tip-in to double the advantage with 11:45 to go, and it appeared to be ready to stand up before the closing-second flurry.

Carruth stopped 30 shots in the overtime defeat. Michalek stopped 24 of 26. The two teams have now split four November meetings, with the home team winning each game. Their next meetings will be a home-and-home on Dec. 26-27.

Boxscore

3 stars

  1. Austin Coldwell (QC) GWG
  2. Steve Michalek (QC) 24 saves
  3. Matt Neal (QC) GTG, A, +2

Takeaways

  1. The 6-on-5 extra-attacker situations are often free-for-alls and difficult situations to defend with the offense throwing the kitchen sink at the net. Unfortunately for the Fuel, two shots were able to get past.
  2. These games can be a crossroads for a team. Knowing Scott Hillman, it’ll be used as a teaching point. It’s still early in the year, and this was the first major roadtrip of the season, which can be a real grind, with the team playing five straight on the road in an eight-day span, including three in three days.
  3. It’s good to get home, where the Fuel are 6-0-0 and have been playing some very good hockey. The next four games will be at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum, including three this weekend, and the next six will all be played in Indiana – the lone road game in that stretch being in Fort Wayne.
  4. Indy did a lot of good things, drawing seven power plays, and scoring on one, and allowing the Mallards only one PP. It started 47 seconds into the game, and the Fuel had three PPs in the first period and a four-minute power play in the second. They finally cashed in on their seventh power play of the night, but the Fuel remain one of the least-penalized teams in the league. That gives Indy an advantage in winning the special teams battle that often decides the outcome of games.
  5. Alex Lavoie’s signing gives the Fuel some really solid scoring depth, and he’s close to a point-a-game pace, with 15 points in 18 games. He had a really good roadtrip, with two-goal games both Friday and today, and six points in the five games. Tonight marked his fourth two-point game as a member of the Fuel.
  6. Ben Marshall continues to show creativity out of the defensive end, and now has nine assists on the year.
  7. Kevin Quick had his third assist in two games with a helper on the second goal, and now has a team-high 10 assists on the year.
  8. Dylan Clarke continues to be the Fuel’s power play ace. He snapped a four-game scoreless string with the primary assist on Lavoie’s third-period PPG. Six of his 13 points this season have come on the PP.
  9. Today marked the Fuel’s first loss when leading after two periods this season. Indy came into the game 7-0-0 when leading after two.
  10. This is the fourth game that has gone to OT this season, with the Fuel splitting the games. Indy is 0-2 in games decided in OT, and 2-0 in games that go to the shootout.
  11. This marked the Fuel’s 12th game in 18 of the goaltender allowing two or fewer goals in regulation. The Fuel are 9-3-1 in those games.
  12. The point gained by the Fuel keep them in third place in the division with 20 points. They are three points back of second-place Cincinnati and five back of Quad City.

Lineup
Based on the gamesheet … Josh Brittain into the lineup and some juggling of the lines.

Josh Brittain-Kyle Stroh-Garett Bembridge
Dylan Clarke-Alex Lavoie-Rhett Bly
Cody Sharib-Matt White-Walker Wintoneak/Reed Seckel

Kevin Quick-Ben Marshall
Nick Mattson-Zach Miskovic
Sam Jardine-Patrick Koudys

Mac Carruth
BU: Shane Owen

Scratches: Peter Schneider (res), Anders Franzon (res), Dillon Fournier (IR)

Roster moves: Josh Brittain was released from his tryout offer with AHL Rockford and returned to the Fuel. Anders Franzon was placed on reserve and Dillon Fournier moved to 21-day IR retroactive to Nov. 14.

Next up: The Fuel begin a four-game homestand at 7:05 p.m. Thursday against Toledo, who the Fuel will also play at 7:35 p.m. Friday. After a day off, they’ll host South Carolina at 3:05 p.m. Sunday.