Game 57: Fuel at Quad City

After a solid performance on Friday, the Indy Fuel were hoping to carry that momentum into Saturday’s contest in Quad City.

It’s a building where they’ve played well – gaining at least a point in every contest in the iWireless Center this season.

The Fuel started well – with Nick Bligh scoring just 92 seconds into the game – but Quad City rallied to take the lead in the closing seconds of the first period and pulled ahead to a 6-1 victory over the Fuel.

Indy finishes the weekend 0-1-1 and is nursing a five-game winless streak. The Fuel will play five of their next six at home – including three home games next weekend against Fort Wayne and Allen.

Quad City got the equalizer with 6:03 left in the first when Michael Parks zipped a perfect cross-ice pass from the right boards to Chris Francis, who fired the puck into the open side from the left circle. With 33 seconds left in the period, Josh MacDonald scored on a rebound to give the Mallards a 2-1 edge.

Quad City outshot the Fuel 15-5 in the opening period. While the shots were largely even in the final two periods, Quad City was able to extend its lead.

The Fuel maintained the one-goal deficit for the early part of the second period, but Dylan Labbe put the Mallards up 3-1 at 9:33, then Mike Wilson and Grant Arnold followed up to push the hosts’ edge to 5-1. Chase Lang scored midway through the third to set the final margin.

Making his second start in as many nights, Eric Levine stopped 36 of 42 shots in the Fuel net. Adam Vay stopped 26 of 27 shots in the Quad City goal.

The Fuel penalty kill was a perfect 3-for-3, with the latter a shortened penalty. Indy had 17 seconds of power play time after the expiry of overlapping minors late in the third, and was 0-for-1 with the man advantage.

Boxscore

3 stars

  1. Dylan Labbe (QC) G/2A
  2. Grant Arnold (QC) G/A
  3. Kevin Gibson (QC) 2A

Takeaways

  1. Kenton Helgesen has made a quick impact for the Fuel. He had the assist on Bligh’s goal, giving him two assists in two games in a Fuel sweater. He was acquired by the Chicago Blackhawks from the Anaheim Ducks’ organization earlier this week and assigned to the Fuel Friday.
  2. Nick Bligh snapped a four-game scoreless streak with his goal. The high-energy rookie center with five goals and three assists in 13 games with the Fuel. Bligh and Helgesen were the two plus players for the Fuel – both were +1.
  3. The Fuel played without Alex Wideman, who left Friday’s game early with an injury. Both teams played the game with 15 skaters.
  4. Brandon Martell had to come to Levine’s defense after a bump from Grant Arnold, and the two dropped the gloves early in the third. Earlier, Arnold had tallied a goal and an assist, giving him a Gordie Howe hat trick.
  5. The Fuel finish the year 1-1-2 in Quad City. Indy is 1-5-2 against the Mallards overall, with two games remaining. Both will be at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum – the next coming March 19.
  6. Quad City was able to solidify playoff position in third place in the ECHL’s Midwest Division. The Mallards are now eight points ahead of fifth-place Tulsa with three games in hand.
  7. Old friend Alexander Kuqali suited up for Quad City. The former Indiana Ice defenseman had three shots and was +2.

Lineup

Josh Shalla-Kenny Ryan-Brady Ramsay
Kenten Helgesen-Nick Bligh-Ryan Keller
Matt Rupert-Michael Neal-Raphael Corriveau
Jack Ceglarski

Nick Mattson-Adam Phillips
Brandon Martell-Zach Miskovic
Travis Armstrong

Eric Levine
BU: Jake Hildebrand

Scratches: Alex Wideman, Paul Zanette, Chris Williams (IR), Bryn Chyzyk (IR)

Next up: The Fuel host Fort Wayne Friday and Saturday, with 7:35 p.m. faceoffs each night. The three-game weekend concludes with a 3:05 p.m. game against Allen the following day.