Through two games, a couple of themes have developed for the Indy Fuel.
One is the defense, led by a slew of shot-blocking defensemen and goaltender Jake Hildebrand, which has allowed two goals in two games. And the trio of Alex Wideman, Tyler Currier and Kevin Lynch – what coach Bernie John would call his “1A” line – has been producing the offense.
Hildebrand made 23 saves Saturday and both Currier and Wideman scored to lead the Fuel to a 2-1 victory in Cincinnati, spoiling the Cyclones’ home opener at U.S. Bank Arena.
The victory gave the Fuel a weekend sweep of the Cyclones and a 2-0-0 record on the young season. Indy travels to Missouri and Tulsa next week before returning home Oct. 28 to face Tulsa at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
Indy again built momentum near the end of the first period. This time, with Matt Rupert in the box and Cincinnati’s potent power play on the ice, Indy forced a turnover and spun it into a 2-on-1. Lynch carried up the left side and fed the puck past the defender to find Currier on the doorstep. He fired the puck past Mark Visentin’s glove side with five seconds left in the period.
Wideman scored the game-winner midway through the second, corralling the puck behind the net on the forecheck, turning and firing a centering pass that banked off a Cyclones defenseman and into the net.
For the second straight night, the Fuel went into the third with a two-goal lead. With the way Hildebrand has been playing, that lead looked comfortable. Indy killed off a mid-period penalty to Zach Miskovic to keep the lead at two. Cincinnati got a goal from Dominic Zombo with 5:21 left, but Hildebrand kept the net clean from there.
- Jake Hildebrand (Fuel) 23 saves
- Dominic Zombo (CIN) G
- Arvin Atwal (CIN) 3 shots
- Wideman and Currier each have three points, with Wideman tallying three goals and Currier a goal and two assists. Lynch has two assists. The trio is +11 and has nine points on the season. They’ve factored into four of the five Fuel goals this season.
- Indy’s penalty kill was again solid, going a perfect 3-for-3 and scoring a shorthanded goal. The Fuel are 7-for-7 on the PK this season.
- The offense was spread out. Twelve of the 16 skaters had a shot on goal, with Wideman and Lynch each leading the team with three shots.
- Hildebrand has stopped 56 of the 58 shots he’s faced so far this season, his first full pro year.
- The game saw a bit more snarl than Friday’s affair, which had several post-whistle scrums in the third. Brady Ramsay and Cincinnati’s Arvin Atwal dropped the gloves (and their helmets) 4:50 in. Lynch drew another bout with Cincinnati’s Shawn O’Donnell in the second period.
- Indy went 7-4-0 against Cincinnati last season and has started the season series well this year. The two teams will meet again Dec. 2 at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. They face each other 12 times this year.
Alex Wideman-Kevin Lynch-Tyler Currier
Marek Tvrdon-Anthony Beauregard-Matt Rupert
Martin Bellus-Patrick D’Amico-Brady Ramsay
Nick Mattson-Matt Stanisz
Drew Schiestel-Jonathan Carlsson
Dillon Fournier-Zach Carlson
BU: Eric Levine
Scratches: Cody Sharib, Kyle Shapiro, Raphael Corriveau, Randy Cure
Next up: Friday, Oct. 21 at Tulsa and Saturday, Oct. 22 at Missouri. Those two games complete the road swing. The Fuel return home Oct. 28-29 to face Tulsa and Allen.