The Indy Fuel dominated the third period, quickly scored the tying goal and kept pressing for the winner while allowing the Cincinnati Cyclones hardly a look at the net.
But the Cyclones were able to make the most of their opportunity, as Peter Quenneville scored on a one-timer six minutes into the third on the Cyclones’ only shot of the final 20 minutes, giving his team a 4-3 victory over the Fuel.
Indy pressed hard for the game-tying goal, getting a power play with 6:14 left, and then pouring it on with the extra attacker. The puck – and bodies – pinballed around the Cyclones’ crease, but the net was knocked off its moorings just before Michael Colantone could bank it off Cincinnati goaltender Andy Iles with Peter Schneider also diving at the puck.
Rhett Bly scored twice for the Fuel to give him 13 tallies for the season – and the team lead – while blueliner Ben Marshall tallied his sixth goal of the season, helping rally the Fuel back from deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 to tie the game.
The two teams play the back half of their home-and-home Saturday night in the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. While it will be the fifth of the 11 scheduled meetings between the Fuel and Cyclones, it will be the first inside the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
Cincy scored two early ones in quick succession. Andrew Yogan scored on a 200-foot play with 8:37 left in the first, and Jack Downing – the ECHL’s second-leading goal scorer – followed with his 22nd of the year just 62 seconds later, putting Indy in a quick two-goal hole.
But the Fuel bounced back and controlled much of the remainder of the game. In the final minute of the first, Bly tipped in Nick Petrecki’s point shot from the high slot to cut the deficit to 2-1, and 23 seconds into the second, Daniel Ciampini corralled the puck behind the net and fed Marshall in the left circle, whose one-timer blew past Iles and into the twine to tie the game.
Cincy re-took the lead with 4:34 left in the second, when Yogan buried a feed from Garrett Noonan for his second goal of the night. Shortly thereafter, the Fuel killed a penalty to Josh Brittain, and then got their first power play when Damon Huard went to the box in the closing seconds of the middle stanza.
Again, the Fuel took advantage, as Zach Miskovic’s shot from the center point hit Iles’ pads, but Dylan Clarke and Bly were both on the doorstep for the rebound. Bly tipped it in with eight seconds left on the power play to knot the game at 3-3.
Indy kept pressing, outshooting Cincy 12-1 in the third period, but the Cyclones ended up getting the winning goal, with Yogan feeding Quenneville for the winner. With three points, Yogan was the game’s top star.
For the game, the Fuel outshot the Cyclones 35-17, including 25-7 in the final two periods. Iles made 32 saves to win his second straight start against Indy. Shane Owen stopped 13 shots in the Fuel net.
- Andrew Yogan (Cincy) 2G, A, +3
- Rhett Bly (Fuel) 2G, 4 shots
- Garrett Noonan (Cincy) 2A
- The Fuel and Cyclones have now split four games in the season series, with all of them in Cincinnati. The Cyclones are the only team to have beaten Indy in the last eight games (which are the Fuel’s only two road games in that stretch), and in this one, the visitors outplayed the hosts down the stretch, but simply couldn’t get the equalizer.
- Saturday’s game marks the end of the Fuel’s stretch of eight straight games against division foes. So far, Indy is 5-2-0 in that stretch, which has vaulted the Fuel into second place in the ECHL’s Midwest Division.
- Rhett Bly is the consummate pro, a driven worker who always seems to be in the right place at the right time – as he was to tip in a shot by Nick Petrecki and grab a rebound from Zach Miskovic tonight for goals 12 and 13 on the year. In the last eight games, Bly has six goals and four assists, and three multi-point games. His 13 goals surpasses the 12 he scored as a rookie last season. Tonight marked his second two-goal game of the year and of his pro career – he also lit the lamp twice Oct. 24 against Fort Wayne.
- Ben Marshall leads all active ECHL rookie defensemen in scoring, and added to that total with his 24th point and sixth goal tonight. It snapped a five-game scoreless streak and 11-game goalless streak.
- Andrew Johnston quietly has a three-game scoring streak going, with assists in each of the last trio of games. He had the second assist on Bly’s third-period PPG. Nick Petrecki also has a three-game point streak going – all on assists – and points in four of the last five. More than once, his point shot has been steered in by Bly in front of the net.
- In the last seven games, Daniel Ciampini has tallied points in every other game, with 3 goals and 4 assists in that span. His play behind the net set up Marshall’s one-timer goal in the second.
- As one might expect in a game between two of the ECHL’s four least-penalized teams, there were few penalties and only three power plays for the two teams, but the Fuel were able to get their PP going again, finishing 1-fof-2. The Fuel have scored with the man advantage in three straight games. Indy is 4-for-12 on the power play in those games.
- The Fuel PK only had to kill off one minor, and did, late in the second period. Indy has now killed 24 straight opponent power plays dating back to Jan. 17, a span of seven full games.
- Marshall and Ciampini delivered a lot of offensive spark – each had six shots on goal as the Fuel fired 35 shots on net.
With the callup of Nick Mattson to Rockford on Thursday, the Fuel skated with 11 forwards and five defensemen. Josh Brittain’s return to the lineup was a welcome addition to the Fuel forward unit.
Adam Lapsansky-Alex Lavoie-Daniel Ciampini
Cody Sharib-Michael Colantone-Rhett Bly
Josh Brittain-Dylan Clarke-Peter Schneider
Matt White-Andrew Johnston
Nick Petrecki-Zach Miskovic
Ben Marshall-Anders Franzon
BU: Cedrick Desjardins
Next up: The Fuel and Cyclones head back to the Indiana Farmers Coliseum on Saturday night for a 7:35 p.m. game. Indy will follow that with a six-game roadtrip to Missouri and Orlando – with three games against each opponent – before a return home to face Missouri on Feb. 23.