Fuel earn point in overtime loss to Thunder
MacMillan’s overtime winner lifts Wichita to 4-3 victory over IndyOct 14, 2017
WICHITA, KANSAS – The Indy Fuel earned their first standings point, but will return to Indiana still in search of their first win of the season. Forward Mark MacMillan scored in the late stages of overtime to give the Wichita Thunder (2-0-0-0) a 4-3 victory over the Fuel (0-1-1-0) Saturday night at INTRUST Bank Arena, completing an opening weekend sweep for the home team. Indy will kick off their 2017-18 schedule at Indiana Farmers Coliseum next Saturday against the Tulsa Oilers.
MacMillan beat Fuel goaltender Collin Delia on a wrap around, ending the game with 33 seconds left in the bonus period. The forward picked off an errant Fuel breakout pass in the neutral zone, drove wide down the left wing and beat Delia to the far post to pick up his first goal of the season, giving Wichita its second 4-3 win in as many nights.
The Fuel grabbed a pair of one-goal leads over the first two periods, only to see the Thunder find a quick answer each time. Nick Bligh opened the scoring for the Fuel 5:13 into the first period, capping off a beautiful passing play with defenseman Zach Miskovic and linemate Ryan Rupert. However, it only took Wichita’s Marc-Olivier Crevier-Morin 23 seconds to even the score on a wrist shot from the blue line.
Indy appeared to regain the lead later in the period, but a potential Ryan Rupert goal was called off by the officiating crew. The first period came to an end at a 1-1 tie, despite the Fuel holding a staggering 18-5 edge in shots on goal.
After scoring twice in Friday’s loss, Indy’s power play connected again in the second period to give the visitors a 2-1 advantage. Tommy Olczyk finished off a one-touch pass from Cam Reid to record his first goal in a Fuel uniform. Alex Wideman picked up the secondary assist; Wideman and Reid played part in all three of Indy’s power play goals this weekend.
Again, Wichita struck back quickly as Lane Bauer tied the game at two just 1:45 after Olczyk’s goal. Attacking in transition, Bauer’s centering pass caromed off a sprawling Indy defenseman and through Delia’s legs.
Wichita found its stride in the third period, outshooting the Fuel by a 16-5 margin over the final 20 minutes of play. Moments after the Thunder had a goal disallowed due to goaltender interference, Travis Ewanyk gave the home team its first lead of the night when he beat Delia on a breakaway at 11:19.
The Fuel tied the game with 3:47 left in regulation, thanks to a one-timer goal from defenseman Troy Vance. After gaining the offensive zone and executing a give-and-go with Reed Seckel, forward Geoff Walker skated the puck behind the Wichita net and found Vance creeping in from the right point.
A late Indy penalty gave the Thunder an opportunity to win the game in regulation, but the Fuel penalty kill remained strong and helped the club force overtime, earning their first point of the young season. Indy killed off all five Wichita power play opportunities Saturday, finishing the weekend a perfect 7-for-7. The Fuel had eight power play chances of their own, but only managed the second-period tally from Olczyk.
Delia stopped 32 shots in the loss, while rookie netminder Shane Starrett earned his first professional win with 31 saves.
Opening Night of the 2017-18 Indy Fuel season is on October 21, and tickets are now on sale! Secure your seat by visiting IndyFuelHockey.com, or by visiting the Indiana Farmers Coliseum box office. Ticket plans are also available for year four of Fuel hockey, call 317-925-FUEL for more information. 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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