Game 2: Fuel at Wichita

The Indy Fuel came away from the season’s opening weekend in Wichita with two strong comebacks. Neither resulted in a victory, but the Fuel’s Saturday rally gained a standings point in a 4-3 OT loss at Wichita.

Mark MacMillan scored on a wraparound in the final minute of OT for the Thunder to give Wichita the weekend sweep in a penalty-filled game.

The Fuel had to rally in the third period to get the game to OT and garner a standings point. With 3:47 left and Indy trailing 3-2, blueliner Troy Vance stepped into the top of the right circle, took a feed from Geoff Walker from the corner, and ripped a shot to tie the game.

Five minutes earlier, Wichita’s Travis Ewanyk scored on Fuel netminder Collin Delia to give his team a third-period lead.

The Fuel came out strong, outshooting their hosts 18-5 in a physical first period. Nick Bligh got on the board five minutes into the game, but the lead lasted just 23 seconds, as Marc-Olivier Crevier-Morin answered for the Thunder. Indy had three power plays – including 19 seconds of 5-on-3 – but was unable to capitalize.

Indy did cash in in on the sixth of the team’s eight power plays for the night, with Tommy Olczyk scoring late in the second period on a perfect tic-tac-toe passing play to the back door, assisted by Cam Reid. Wichita’s Lane Bauer again tied the game less than two minutes later.

Wichita threatened with back-to-back power plays – including nearly a half-minute of 5-on-3 – bridging the second and third period. The Fuel also had to kill off two more late in the third.

The Fuel next play Oct. 21 at home against Tulsa in the team’s home opener.

Boxscore

3 stars

  1. Mark MacMillan (WIC) GWG
  2. Travis Ewanyk (WIC) G
  3. Nick Bligh (Fuel) G

Takeaways

  1. One thing that’s been notable so far is balance. The Fuel have scored six goals this season, coming from the sticks of six different players.
  2. The Fuel’s PP has been productive. Three of the team’s six goals through the first two games have come with the man advantage, including Olczyk’s tally in this one that was a result of perfect power play execution and a back-door pass.
  3. Cam Reid and Alex Wideman both had assists in this contest – both coming on Olczyk’s PPG in the second period. Each now has three points in two games, with Reid tallying three assists. Nine different skaters got onto the scoresheet Saturday night.
  4. Tommy Olczyk and Nick Bligh led the Fuel offense with five shots each.
  5. The game featured 50 minutes in penalties, including a first-period bout between Indy’s Garrett Clarke and Wichita’s Dyson Stevenson.
  6. Collin Delia took the net in both games for the Fuel this weekend. He stopped 32 shots. Shane Starrett had the victory in net for Wichita.
  7. The two teams have one meeting remaining, in December at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.

Lineup
Based on the gamesheet

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

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

Collin Delia
B/U: Matt Tomkins

Scratches: Connor Reilly, Andrew Schmit, Travis Armstrong, Etienne Marcoux

Next up: The home opener at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21 against Tulsa.