The I-69 rivalry was re-kindled for the first time this season Friday night, but the host Fort Wayne Komets pulled away with three goals in the latter stages of the third period to beat the Indy Fuel 4-0 at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.
Eric Hartzell had a 31-save shutout for the Komets. Eric Levine held the fort for Indy, stopping 38 of 41 shots and keeping the Fuel within a goal until the final 8:33, when Fort Wayne struck three times.
Hartzell had a solid night is in his first weekend as Fort Wayne’s primary starter after an injury to Pat Nagle last week pressed him into full-time duty.
Trevor Cheek had a goal and two assists for Fort Wayne. Garrett Thompson scored the game’s first goal for the Komets, scoring with 3:56 left in the opening period after Cheek set him up with an open side. That score held until the final 8:33, when Gabriel Beaupre scored a power play goal, followed by a 4-on-4 tally by Cheek just over two minutes later. Shawn Szydlowski added an empty-netter in the closing minutes.
Indy had a number of flurries, especially on the power play, where the Fuel were buzzing, hitting a crossbar in the second period – but Hartzell kept the net clear.
Indy (2-4-1) returns to action Saturday night when the Fuel meet the Quad City Mallards at 7:35 p.m. at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
- Eric Hartzell (FW) 31 saves
- Trevor Cheek (FW) G, 2A
- Garrett Thompson (FW) GWG, A
- The Fuel suffered their first shutout since March 4, 2016 against Utah, which was a 2-0 game. That marks a span of 20 games. It’s the Fuel’s first road shutout against since a 7-0 loss in Fort Wayne on Dec. 31, 2015.
- Eric Levine made his second start, and has been solid in both, as he held the fort for much of the contest, allowing one five-on-five goal. Likely his best work came when he stuffed Cheek on a breakaway in the second. He’s run into some tough luck in two losses despite playing well.
- The Fuel trio of Bryn Chyzyk, Patrick D’Amico and Brady Ramsay provided a lot of offense, as the three started the game and had five shots each, totaling nearly half of Indy’s 31 shots.
- Fort Wayne had a familiar face on the ice, as the Komets signed former Fuel goaltender Keegan Asmundson. He was the backup Friday evening. Another old friend, former Indiana Ice forward Mike Embach, was making his season debut for Fort Wayne. He had an assist.
- Indy was 0-for-4 on the power play but continues to press and gain chances. Fort Wayne was 1-for-5 with the man advantage. The Fuel had killed off 10 straight power plays over a span of five games before allowing a goal on the Komets final man advantage situation of the night. Last week, the Fuel allowed no PPGs, but only one power play against in two games.
- While Indy-Fort Wayne games are often physical and spirited, the only altercation came late in the second, when new Fuel defenseman Chris Williams and Fort Wayne tough guy Cody Sol were sent off for matching roughing minors.
Alex Wideman-Kevin Lynch-Tyler Currier
Marek Tvrdon-Anthony Beauregard-Matt Rupert
Bryn Chyzyk-Patrick D’Amico-Brady Ramsay
Drew Schiestel-Jonathan Carlsson
Nick Mattson-Chris Williams
Randy Cure-Matt Stanisz
BU: Jake Hildebrand
Scratches: Dillon Fournier, Martin Bellus, Cody Sharib (res), Paxton Leroux (IR), Zach Miskovic (IR)
Next up: Indy hosts Quad City at 7:35 p.m. Saturday at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.