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Fuel’s winning streak snapped in Quad City

Mallards shut down Indy 2-1 to split home-and-home series

 

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Photo courtesy of Sean Flynn / Quad City Mallards

MOLINE, ILL. –  Less than 24 hours after starting a weekend doubleheader with a victory in their own building, the Indy Fuel (9-4-1-0) found themselves on the losing side of a 2-1 decision to the Quad City Mallards (8-6-1-2) Sunday afternoon at iWireless Center. Quad City used a big performance from goaltender Steve Michalek and a second period goal from Sam Warning to salvage a weekend split with the Fuel, pulling back into a second-place tie in the ECHL’s Midwest Division standings. The road loss brought the end of a five-game winning streak for Indy, who fall to 3-4-1-0 away from Indiana Farmers Coliseum.

The Fuel eclipsed the 40-shot plateau for the second time this season, but could not get more than one past Michalek, who set a season-high mark with 40 saves to post his fourth win of the season. The Mallards goaltender stopped 18 shots in the second period and 11 in the third, hindering Indy from gaining any offensive traction down the stretch. The Fuel have now lost both games where they have tallied over 40 shots, with their 4-3 defeat at Kalamazoo back on Oct. 27 being the first (47 shots).

Quad City forward Sam Warning scored what held to be the decisive goal late in the second period, redirecting a point shot from defenseman Jake Baker to give the Mallards a 2-1 lead at 18:46. The home team held on to grab their fifth-consecutive win at iWireless Center and their first victory against the Fuel in three attempts.

Both sides traded goals quickly in the later stages of the opening period to send the game into the second frame at a 1-1 stalemate. Indy struck first thanks to a great hustle play from rookie forward Cody Sharib. When a long attempt from Garett Bembridge was fought off by Michalek, Sharib beat a defender to a loose rebound and tapped it home for his third goal of the season at 15:35.

Quad City used an odd-man rush from their top offensive weapons to answer back two and a half minutes later. Olivier Archambault gained the Fuel zone with speed, applied the brakes and found Raphael Bussieres open in the slot. The forward beat Indy netminder Shane Owen for his team-leading eighth of the season to tie the game at 18:07.

Owen played admirably in defeat, stopping 30 of 32 Mallard offerings, including a handful of big stops early in the second period.

For the second-straight night, neither side could muster anything on the power play. The Mallards were scoreless on two chances while the Fuel were 0-for-1.

Indy comes out of a taxing three-games-in-three-nights stretch picking up four out of a possible six points, all against divisional foes. Sunday’s visit to Moline was the first stop on an eight-day road trip for the Fuel, which has them playing a total of five games before returning to Indiana. Indy will visit the Wichita Thunder on Wednesday before playing another three-in-three next weekend; Friday and Saturday against the Missouri Mavericks and Sunday back at iWireless Center against the Mallards.

NEXT HOME GAMEThursday, December 3 vs. Toledo Walleye – 7:05 p.m. Start the weekend early by taking in some Fuel hockey during the first $10 Thursday this season. Come to Indiana Farmers Coliseum as Indy hosts Toledo, and receive a $10 concessions voucher with every paid admission.

Single-game tickets are now on sale at Ticketmaster or at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum box office, while a variety of different ticket plans and group specials are available by calling (317) 925-FUEL or visiting IndyFuelHockey.com. Don’t miss out on anything from the Fuel in 2015-16, follow the team on Twitter and Instagram (@IndyFuel) and don’t forget to ‘Like’ the Fuel on Facebook.

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