Game 38: Fuel at Fort Wayne

The Indy Fuel are in the midst of a tour of the Central Division, having vanquished three foes of the five they’d played – including second-place Tulsa and fourth-place Quad City the last two nights.

Facing the division’s third-place team, the Fuel fell into an early deficit and saw each attempt to rally answered by Fort Wayne, as the host Komets skated away with a 6-2 victory over Indy.

Mike Cazzola had a hat trick for Fort Wayne, scoring twice in a 53-second span of the third to answer Josh Shalla’s goal that had cut the hosts’ deficit to two.

Indy fell behind 1-0 after a period on a goal by Gabriel Desjardins seven minutes in, but the Komets pushed the lead to three as Cazzola scored a power play goal and Kyle Thomas followed with a tally four minutes later, assisted by Cazzola, who had a five-point game.

Kevin Lynch got the Fuel on the board with the team’s second power play goal in as many nights, beating Fort Wayne’s Garrett Bartus with 3:22 left in the second. That cut the deficit to two for a resilient Fuel squad that was looking for a comeback, but that was thwarted when Curtis Leonard scored 4:02 into the third.

Again, Shalla cut the deficit to two at 7:25 of the third, but Cazzola answered less than a minute later to reclaim, and then extend with a power play tally, the Komets’ multi-goal lead.

Jake Hildebrand, making his fourth straight start, stopped 40 shots for the Fuel. Bartus stopped 28 shots for Fort Wayne.

The Fuel now head into the ECHL’s All-Star Break. Alex Wideman will represent Indy in Wednesday’s All-Star Game in Glens Falls, N.Y., while the remainder of the team – and the ECHL – will get three days off. The Fuel will return to the ice for six consecutive home games, beginning Friday against Toledo.

Boxscore

Three stars

  1. Mike Cazzola (FW) 3G/2A
  2. Kyle Thomas (FW) G/2A
  3. Curtis Leonard (FW) G

Takeaways

  1. Josh Shalla had an outstanding weekend, tallying three goals and four assists in the three games. He has five multi-point games in 14 contests with the Fuel, including three straight. He has 15 points in 14 games with Indy. Shalla also led the Fuel with six of the team’s 30 shots.
  2. The Fuel had two players return from the injured list over the weekend. On Saturday, Matt Stanisz returned after a five-game absence. He had an assist in Sunday’s game – his first point since Dec. 30 – and was second on the team with four shots. Sunday night, Raphael Corriveau returned from IR after missing 11 games. He
  3. The lines were juggled a bit Saturday night after forward Paul Zanette left the game early with an apparent injury. He and fellow new acquisition Adam Phillips, who had an injury that kept him out of Saturday’s game, were both unavailable Sunday. It meant defenseman Chris Williams skated as a right wing for the third straight game.
  4. The Fuel’s three-game winning streak was snapped. It was the second-longest win streak of the season. The team’s longest was a six-game streak in November.
  5. Sunday marked the seventh time the Fuel have allowed at least six goals in a game this season. The Fuel are 0-6-1 in those contests.
  6. The Fuel are now 0-3-0 against the Komets, with all games in Fort Wayne. The teams have six games remaining – with five of the six at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The next meeting is Feb. 4 in Indy.

Lineup

Josh Shalla-Kevin Lynch-Chris Williams
Bryn Chyzyk-Alex Wideman-Alex Guptill
Ryan Keller-Patrick D’Amico-Matt Rupert
Raphael Corriveau

Nick Mattson-Jonathan Carlsson
Matt Stanisz-Zach Miskovic
Brandon Martell-Robin Press

Jake Hildebrand
BU: Eric Levine

Scratches: Paul Zanette, Adam Phillips, Brady Ramsay (res), Cody Sharib (IR)

Next up: After the All-Star Break, the Fuel return home for six straight home games spread over two three-game weekends. They’ll host Toledo at 7:35 p.m. Friday, before Saturday (7:35 p.m.) and Sunday (3:05 p.m.) home games against Cincinnati.