After a handful of near-misses, the Indy Fuel broke through on the road Friday night.
They did so in a big way, against the ECHL’s hottest team, handling the Florida Everblades their first loss of the year by a 5-2 score.
Matt Rupert tallied a power-play hat trick, scoring twice with the man advantage in the third period to put the game away. It was Rupert’s first career ECHL hat trick, and the first hat trick in Fuel history that came entirely on power play goals.
Geoff Walker and Robin Press each added two assists and goaltender Collin Delia stopped 37 shots.
Rupert’s first goal came with :13 left in the first period, as he won a battle to the front of the net to jam home a rebound, putting the Fuel up 2-1.
In the third, Rupert scored on an assist from Press with 12:41 left to extend the lead to 4-2. He added an empty-net goal on the power play in the game’s final minute.
Cam Reid got the game started with a goal 2:56 in, which was his first Fuel tally. Florida’s Gus Young tied it midway through the first before Rupert cashed in on the Fuel’s first PP of the night.
Reed Seckel extended the lead to 3-1 in the second, poking a weak-side rebound into the open side. Delia had a number of spectacular saves in the second, stopping 14 shots to preserve the lead.
The Everblades closed to within one early in the third, but then began a march to the box. Rupert scored on the Fuel’s second PP of the night, and the Fuel would get six more power plays in the third period, with several coming in the closing minutes.
Florida had won five straight games to start the season, while the Fuel had dropped three straight road games, all by a goal.
The two teams meet again Saturday in Estero to close out the three-game weekend series.
- Matt Rupert (Fuel) 3G
- Collin Delia (Fuel) 37 saves
- Josiah Didier (FLA) 2A
- The Fuel special teams have been spectacular all season, and that continued Friday. While the PK gave up a goal for the first time this season – it is now 18-for-19 – the PP has scored in every game. Indy is now 9-for-33 on the PP this season. Nine of the Fuel’s 14 goals on the season have come with the man advantage.
- Collin Delia stopped 37 shots for his first professional victory. He had a couple of hard-luck losses in Wichita two weeks ago, and another when he came on in relief Wednesday. Every one of the Fuel’s road losses had been by a goal.
- Cam Reid and Geoff Walker have had a really strong start to the year. Walker has tallied a point in four of the Fuel’s five games, and has two goals and three assists. Friday was his second multi-point game. Reid has tallied a point in each game. After starting the year with five assists in the first four games, Reid tallied his first goal.
- Andrew Schmit had his first point for the Fuel with an assist on Reed Seckel’s goal.
- Robin Press had two assists for the first multi-point game of his ECHL career.
Cam Reid-Alex Wideman-Geoff Walker
Matt Rupert-Ryan Rupert-Nick Bligh
Radovan Bondra-Reed Seckel-Tommy Olczyk
Brandon Anselmini-Nick Trecapelli
Troy Vance-Zach Miskovic
Nolan Descoteaux-Robin Press
BU: Etienne Marcoux
Scratches: Matt Johnson, Will Smith, Garrett Clarke (res), Matt Tomkins (res), Michael Neal (IR), Jack Burton (IR), Anthony Cortese (IR)
Next up: The Fuel and Everblades finish their three-game series Saturday at Florida.