FUEL 3, NAILERS 2

Fuel cruise into 2018 with New Year's Eve win in Wheeling

Dec 31, 2017

WHEELING, W.V. –  The Indy Fuel (12-15-2-1) will begin 2018 on their longest winning streak of the season, after dispatching the Wheeling Nailers (16-14-2-0) 3-2 in a New Year’s Eve showdown at WesBanco Arena. Three goals from defensemen, including the first two professional tallies from Riley Sweeney, helped the Fuel erase a first-period deficit and win their third straight game. Indy – now 4-1-0 in its last five games – picked up six out of eight possible points from a busy week that saw the club play four games in five days in four different cities.

After the two teams played over half the game locked at a 1-1 tie, it was a power play goal from Anthony Cortese which broke the stalemate in favor of the visitors late in the third period. With Troy Josephs off for slashing, a Nailers clearing attempt was gloved by Ryan Rupert at the left point, who found Cortese opening up for a one-timer. The rookie defenseman blasted his second goal of the season by Wheeling goaltender Collin Stevens, giving Indy its first lead of the night with 3:52 left in regulation time.

Sweeney doubled the Fuel lead with 53 seconds left in the game, when he deposited his second goal of the evening into an empty net. The late goal ultimately became the game-winner, as Cody Wydo found the net with 28 seconds on the clock to whittle the score to 3-2.

Wydo’s last-second tally was all the Nailers would be able to find down the stretch, thanks in part to another strong outing from Indy netminder Étienne Marcoux. The rookie made 44 saves ­– including 13 in the third period – to pick up his seventh win of the season. Marcoux has been superb during the Fuel’s current three game winning streak, stopping 108 of 113 shots overall, good for a .956 save percentage.

Wheeling accounted for the only goal in the first period, coming via a power play marker by Josephs at the 14:23 mark. The forward gave the home team a 1-0 lead when he jumped on a rebound in front of Marcoux, after a point shot from Reid Gardiner caromed off the end boards and ended in the crease.

Once the second period started, it took Indy only a minute and six seconds to even the score at a goal apiece. Michael Neal found Sweeney on the blue line, who waited out a Nailers defender and threaded a wrist shot through Stevens for his first marker in a Fuel uniform.

Stevens finished with 27 saves on 29 shots, as Wheeling outshot Indy by a 45-30 margin.

Both teams scored once on four opportunities with the man advantage. With Cortese’s third-period goal, the Fuel have now recorded a power play goal in four consecutive games.

Indy begins the 2018 portion of their schedule with a home-and-home series with the Fort Wayne Komets, beginning Friday night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.

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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