Game 19: Fuel vs. Cincinnati

When the visiting Cincinnati Cyclones struck Friday night, they did so quickly, using a pair of back-to-back goals to beat the Indy Fuel 5-1 at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.

Fuel goaltender Jake Hildebrand tracks the puck for a blocker save during Friday's 5-1 loss to Cincinnati. The Fuel were wearing special sweaters to celebrate Indiana's bicentennial. Photo by Whiteshark Photography.

Fuel goaltender Jake Hildebrand tracks the puck for a blocker save during Friday’s 5-1 loss to Cincinnati. The Fuel were wearing special sweaters to celebrate Indiana’s bicentennial. Photo by Whiteshark Photography.

Cincinnati scored twice in one minutes in the opening period to take a two-goal lead. Shortly after the Fuel’s Anthony Beauregard scored an early second-period goal, the Cyclones scored twice in 1:29 to push its lead to three.

The first two goals came late in the opening period – a deflection of a point shot by Dominic Zombo with 2:17 left in the period, followed by a shorthanded goal by Seth Ambroz.

“Right from the start, we weren’t moving our feet enough, and we didn’t crate enough chances,” Fuel assistant coach Jan Jas said. “Once those two goals came in, we were on our heels and we were chasing the game the rest of the time.”

Indy was outshot 17-7 in the opening period, in part fueled by three Cincinnati power plays. While the Fuel killed all three, the Cyclones were able to build momentum. Zombo’s goal came less than 30 seconds after Nick Mattson exited the box from his penalty. Cincinnati broke up a promising odd-man rush for the Fuel and scored on the ensuing zone entry, with old friend Rob De Fulviis cycling the puck to Arvin Atwal at the right point to set up the deflection.

Indy had a late power play in the first, but Ambroz was able to get a shorthanded breakaway and make it a 2-0 game.

“(The power plays) broke up the game. It took momentum away, and the flow of the game where some guys were sitting on the bench for a while,” Jas said. “It took a while to get going – the whole game got chopped up a little bit. Bottom line, I don’t think we were ready to go 100 percent, and it was random people around the lineup.”

Indy did come out strong to start the second period, and it led to a Beauregard goal. Alex Wideman won the puck out of the corner and fed Jonathan Carlsson in the mid-slot. Cincinnati’s Michael Houser stopped the shot, but Beauregard buried the rebound for his fifth goal of the season.

“I just did what the coach said – drive the net,” Beauregard said. “The rebound came right to my backhand and I put it in the net. It was just pushing and trying to put traffic to the net.”

The start was promising, but an unassisted goal by Colin Mulvey four minutes later after a strong shift by the Cyclones, followed by a great feed from behind the net from Shane Walsh to Peter LeBlanc in front for another goal, made it 4-1. While the Fuel hoped to build momentum in the second, the two-goal flurry allowed the Cyclones to seize control of the game.

Tristan King carries the puck during his Fuel debut. King was acquired from Allen last week. Photo by Whiteshark Photography

Tristan King carries the puck during his Fuel debut. King was acquired from Allen last week. Photo by Whiteshark Photography

“That was our plan, to try to get going,” Jas said. “Unfortunately, after the goal, they came back and followed with their goal, and it kind of put us back on our heels a little bit.”

Tommy Mele added a third-period goal for Cincinnati, but the final 20 minutes saw a push from the Fuel, who outshot the Cyclones 12-6.

Indy now heads to the road for a two-week, five-game stretch. The first half of the trip will commence Wednesday at Brampton, as the Fuel will play an 11 a.m. game. It’ll be the franchise’s first-ever game in Canada. The trip follows with a weekend swing in Reading.

“We need to forget about this week. Another week is coming,” Beauregard said. “We need to start at zero. We have a good team out there – we have a lot of speed, a lot of good hockey players. We just need to play together.”

3 stars

  1. Shane Walsh (CIN) 2A
  2. Peter LeBlanc (CIN) G, 7 shots
  3. Anthony Beauregard (Fuel) G

Takeaways

  1. Anthony Beauregard has a hot stick right now. He has a point in four straight games, five of the last six and eight of the last 10. The rookie now has five goals and five assists on the season. The individual success is good, but his eye is on something else. “At the end of the day, the victory is the most important,” Beauregard said. “I can have some good things, but it’s about the W at the end.”
  2. Friday’s was the first game for new veteran forward Tristan King, who was acquired in a trade with Allen last week. King had two shots on goal in the game, showing a sizable presence in the forward unit at 6-1, 190.
  3. Friday was also the first game for the captain since Oct. 21. Zach Miskovic returned to the lineup after spending 15 games on injured reserve. He received a hearty ovation from the fans when introduced into the lineup.
  4. Momentum can swing so quickly in hockey. One of the hallmarks for the Fuel during their recent six-game winning streak was their ability to strike quickly after allowing a goal, tallying a number of key goals in the “vulnerable minute” after a tally. Friday, Cincinnati took advantage of that time and added on twice, setting the tone for the contest.
  5. Matt Stanisz is the Fuel’s top goal-scorer from the blueline, and showed why early. In addition to his tremendous shot, he set up a couple of deflection plays in the first that were well-executed – one a perfect setup to Kevin Lynch – but stopped by Houser.
  6. Indy has now scored one goal in each of the last three games, all losses. Indy is 0-7-0 when scoring fewer than two goals in a game, 8-2-1 when scoring at least twice.
  7. With an assist, Alex Wideman now has 10 assists on the year and leads the Fuel with 19 points in 19 games.
  8. Jonathan Carlsson was one of three Fuel players called up to AHL Rockford this week, along with Bryn Chyzyk and Nick Mattson. Carlsson leads Fuel defensemen with eight assists, as he had the primary helper on Beauregard’s goal.
  9. The Fuel penalty kill was a perfect 4-for-4 in the game. Indy’s power play was 0-for-2. All of the penalties were in the opening period, except for an abbreviated Cincinnati power play and a set of coincidental minors in the final two minutes of the game.
  10. The last time the Fuel went on the road for an extended trip, they came away with two wins and parlayed that into a six-game streak. They’re hoping for something similar on the Brampton-Reading trip. “It’s back to work – we have to grind it and get some simple wins where we’re working hard and outworking teams,” Jas said.

Lineup
While this was the lineup the Fuel started with, there were a number of combinations as the game went on.

Alex Wideman-Kevin Lynch-Tristan King
Marek Tvrdon-Anthony Beauregard-Tyler Currier
Matt Rupert-Bryn Chyzyk-Raphael Corriveau
Ryan Keller

Nick Mattson-Jonathan Carlsson
Randy Cure-Zach Miskovic
Matt Stanisz-Chris Williams

Jake Hildebrand
BU: Eric Levine

Scratches: Keevin Cutting, Brandon Carlson, Patrick D’Amico (res), Brady Ramsay (res), Paxton Leroux (IR), Tyler Currier (IR)

Next up: The Fuel travel to Brampton for an 11 a.m. Wednesday game, kicking off a five-game road trip. The next home game will be Dec. 17 against Quad City. The 7:35 p.m. contest will be the Fuel’s second annual Teddy Bear Toss night.