Game 1: Fuel at Wichita

The 2017-18 season began with a new look for the Indy Fuel.

Not only were the Fuel sporting several new faces and donning new threads – a red sweater based on the parent Chicago Blackhawks’ design – but they were opening a season in the road uniforms for the first time.

The Fuel’s first-ever opener on the road saw a late comeback fall short in a 4-3 loss at Wichita.

One of the new faces – veteran Geoff Walker – scored the Fuel’s first goal of the year, but a three-goal flurry by the Thunder midway through the second put Indy in a deficit it could not climb out of in the loss.

Walker scored a power play goal early in the second period to tie the game at 1-1, jamming home a loose puck at the top of the crease. Walker would later add an assist for a two-point game.

Wichita answered with a quick flurry. Kyle Platzer scored at 9:11 of the second period, followed by two goals in 52 seconds by Matt DeBlouw and Travis Ewanyk.

But just as Wichita built a three-goal lead, the Fuel cut into it. Zach Miskovic ripped a shot from the right circle into the net 51 seconds after Ewanyk’s goal. In the third, the Fuel threw the kitchen sink at the Thunder, outshooting their hosts 14-5, but could beat goaltender Joel Rumpel once. Alex Wideman scored on the power play midway through the period.

The two teams will play again Saturday night in Wichita to close the two-game season-opening series.

Boxscore

Three stars

  1. Matt DeBlouw (WIC) 2G
  2. Zach O’Brien (WIC) 2A
  3. Geoff Walker (Fuel) G/A

Takeaways

  1. After opening at home three straight years, the Fuel opened on the road. The Fuel had won two straight openers before tonight. Indy is now 2-2-0 in openers.
  2. The top line of Geoff Walker, Cam Reid and Alex Wideman combined for 13 of the Fuel’s 38 shots and two of the three goals. Walker and Reid each had two-point games.
  3. Another thing to like – the power play, which went 2-for-3 on the night, with Walker and Wideman both finding the back of the net. Reid’s assists both came on the two PPGs. Indy was also 2-for-2 on the PK, with both kills coming in the first period.
  4. Collin Delia, who was returned by Rockford late this week, stopped 25 shots in his pro debut.
  5. Garrett Clarke was the first Fuel player to drop the gloves. He and Wichita’s Istvan Sofron each took fighting majors 15 seconds before Ewanyk’s goal put Wichita up 4-1.
  6. Back at it Saturday night in Wichita. Indy will look to earn a split in the series. These two games are the first two of three games between the teams. The final meeting will be Dec. 9 in Indy.

Lineup

Based on the gamesheet

Alex Wideman-Geoff Walker-Cam Reid
Matt Rupert-Ryan Rupert-Nick Bligh
Matt Johnson-Reed Seckel-Tommy Olczyk
Andrew Schmit

Brandon Anselmini-Zach Miskovic
Garrett Clarke-Troy Vance
Jack Burton-Nolan Descoteaux

Collin Delia
BU: Michael Tomkins

Scratches: Connor Reilly, Will Smith, Travis Armstrong, Etienne Marcoux

Next up: The two teams play again Saturday night in Wichita