Fuel bounce back to earn series split with Kalamazoo
Three-goal first period lifts Indy to 4-2 win over Wings; Fuel take two of three from weekendFeb 11, 2018
KALAMAZOO, MICH. – For the second time in under 24 hours, the Indy Fuel found themselves with a sizable lead on the Kalamazoo Wings. Where Saturday the early advantage slipped away, Sunday the Fuel (21-22-2-1) held on for a 4-2 victory over the Wings (26-18-2-2) at Wings Event Center. The win helped Indy salvage a two-game split from the weekend series in Kalamazoo, giving the club four out of six possible points to begin a season-long seven-game road trip.
Four different goal scorers found the net for the Fuel, who improved to 5-3 over the Wings this season. Ryan Rupert chipped in a pair of assists, while goaltender Matt Tomkins turned aside 37 shots to pick up his second win in as many starts this weekend. Indy (45 points) now pulls within six points of the fifth-place Kansas City Mavericks in the Central Division standings, while trailing Kalamazoo by 11 points for the division’s fourth and final playoff berth.
Eager to put Saturday’s disappointing 6-4 loss behind them, the Fuel jumped out to a 3-1 lead before the end of the first period. Reed Seckel opened the scoring at 7:33, redirecting a point shot from defenseman Garrett Clarke. Kalamazoo tied the game at one just 48 seconds following Seckel’s tally when Sean O’Rourke stepped down the wing and beat Indy Tomkins to the far side.
It took Indy less than three minutes to climb back on top, courtesy of a power play tally from Michael Neal. Josh Shalla threaded a pass through a pair of Wings defenders to Neal off of the left post. The Fuel captain’s team-leading 15th marker of the season was his second in as many nights.
Matt Rupert doubled Indy’s cushion in the final minute of the period, intercepting a Kalamazoo clearing attempt and depositing his 10th goal of the year behind netminder Michael Garteig (31 saves).
The Wings began to push back in the second, outshooting the Fuel 13-7, though it was Indy that accounted for the lone goal in the middle frame. While killing off a Matt Rupert double-minor, Ryan Rupert sprung Darian Dziurzynski on a shorthanded breakaway – which he converted for a 4-1 Fuel lead at 15:00.
Scott Henegar pulled Kalamazoo back within two 2:12 into the third period, but that would be as close as the home team would get.
Indy finished the afternoon 1-for-4 on the man advantage, while holding the Wings scoreless through four power play chances.
With four games remaining on their extended swing away from home, the Fuel now embark on the busiest stretch of their 2017-18 schedule. Indy heads to Fort Wayne on Wednesday, before another three-in-three weekend – which starts with two games in Kansas City before ending in Tulsa on Sunday. In all, the Fuel will be playing a total of eight games in 11 days from Feb. 14 to Feb. 24.
Single game tickets are now available for the entire 2017-18 Fuel season at Indiana Farmers Coliseum! Fans can also take advantage of a wide variety of ticket plans by calling 317-925-FUEL or visiting IndyFuelHockey.com. Don’t miss a second of the action during the 2017-18 season – follow the Fuel on Twitter and Instagram (@IndyFuel) and ‘Like’ the Fuel on Facebook.
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