Game 51: Fuel at Allen

The Indy Fuel knew a two-game trip to Allen would be a test against the ECHL’s standard-bearers.

The Americans, winners of four straight league championships and two-time defending Kelly Cup champs, are not just the top team in the league. They’re also – by far – the highest-scoring team in the ECHL and are one of the hottest teams.

The Fuel had a valiant comeback in the first game fall just short on Wednesday. Friday night, the Americans flexed their muscles and pulled away to a 6-0 victory over Indy at the Allen Events Center.

Zach Hall, David Makowski and Spencer Asuchak each had a goal and an assist for Allen, which won its fifth straight game and improved to 8-1-1 in its last 10. Riley Gill notched his sixth shutout, stopping 24 Fuel shots.

The first two periods were similar to Wednesday’s 3-2 Fuel loss – a fairly even, closely-played game saw the Americans find the net a couple of times. Asuchak scored his 22nd of the year on the power play in the first. In the second, Allen pushed the lead to 2-0 on a goal by Gary Steffes 24 seconds in. That tally was assisted by ECHL scoring leader Chad Costello, which was his 70th assist and 98th point. Jon Martin added an unassisted goal later in the period.

The Americans broke it open in the third. Hall scored on a penalty shot, followed by goals 42 seconds apart from Joel Chouinard and Makowski.

Jake Hildebrand stopped 25 shots in the Fuel net.

Boxscore

Three stars

  1. Riley Gill (ALN) 24 saves
  2. Zach Hall (ALN) G/A
  3. Spencer Asuchak (ALN) G/A

Takeaways

  1. The Fuel are now 0-4-1 against Allen this season, dropping all four games in Texas. The two teams have one game remaining, March 12 at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
  2. Hall’s penalty shot goal was the first penalty shot in a Fuel game this season. The last penalty shot against the Fuel was March 4, 2016, when Utah’s Alex Krushelnyski scored on Mac Carruth. It was the second penalty shot Hildebrand faced in his ECHL career. The first came while playing with Allen on April 6, 2016, when Evansville’s Daultan Leveille scored. It was the fourth penalty shot faced by the Fuel in team history. Opponents are now 2-4 on penalty shots all-time against the Fuel. Indy is 1-for-3 all-time, with Rhett Bly scoring the Fuel’s goal against Fort Wayne’s Pat Nagle on¬†October 24, 2015.
  3. The game marked the third time the Fuel had been shut out this season. The last was Jan. 22 against Cincinnati.
  4. Alex Wideman led the Fuel offense with four shots on goal. Nick Mattson, Ryan Keller, Kenny Ryan and Michael Neal had three each.
  5. The game snapped a six-game scoring streak for Tyler Barnes, who was held off the scoresheet for the first time since returning to the Fuel on Feb. 3.
  6. The Fuel again played without a full lineup due to injuries to three forwards. Paul Zanette missed his seventh straight game, Bryn Chyzyk his fourth and Chris DeSousa his second straight contest.
  7. Indy was 0-3 on the PP. The Fuel were 2-3 on the PK.

Lineup

Josh Shalla-Michael Neal-Tyler Barnes
Alex Wideman-Kenny Ryan-Ryan Keller
Matt Rupert-Nick Bligh-Raphael Corriveau

Brandon Martell-Adam Phillips
Nick Mattson-Zach Miskovic
Travis Armstrong-Chris Williams
Andrew Huckleby

Jake Hildebrand
BU: Eric Levine

Scratches: Chris DeSousa, Bryn Chyzyk (res), Paul Zanette (res), Brady Ramsay (IR)

Next up: The Fuel travel to Tulsa for a Saturday night contest. Tulsa fell 5-3 to Rapid City on Friday.