Fuel fall to first-place Cyclones
Cincinnati scores four unanswered goals to pick up 4-2 victory in IndianapolisMar 8, 2019
INDIANAPOLIS – An early lead was not enough to hold off the ECHL’s top team, as the Indy Fuel (27-28-2-1) fell to the Cincinnati Cyclones (41-10-4-3) 4-2 Friday night in front of a crowd of 4,841 at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The league-leading Cyclones tallied four unanswered goals to erase a 2-0 Indy advantage, handing the Fuel their second straight loss. With the setback, Indy dropped to seven points back of playoff position in the Central Division with 14 games left to play in the regular season.
After Cincinnati rallied to tie the game with two second period goals, Myles Powell netted the eventual game-winning goal 4:36 into the final frame. Powell executed a give-and-go with linemate Jesse Schultz before snapping a wrist shot just inside the left post behind Fuel goaltender Matt Tomkins (20 saves).
Indy nearly tied the game with a push in the final minutes of regulation, but an empty net tally from DeVante Stephens secured the Cyclones’ league-best 41st win of the season. The Fuel’s best chance came during a shorthanded rush with just under two minutes on the clock, when a Matt Rupert drive made its way through Michael Houser (18 saves) but trickled just wide of the net.
A pair of goals from Indy defensemen spotted the home team a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission. Captain Zach Miskovic gave the Fuel a 1-0 lead at 3:23, grabbing a loose puck at the top of the right circle before beating Houser to the blocker side. Samuel Thibault doubled Indy’s advantage at 12:02 with a shorthanded strike; the first goal of his professional career. Ryan Rupert won an offensive zone draw clean to Thibault, who fired a quick shot inside the right post.
The Cyclones capitalized on a couple of defensive zone turnovers to even the score in the second period. Pascal Aquin gained possession of the puck after Fuel defenseman Travis Brown was tripped up on his own blue line, before finding Ben Johnson at the right face-off dot. Johnson’s eighth goal of the season came shorthanded, cutting Indy’s lead in half at the 7:35 mark of the middle stanza.
Defenseman Eric Knodel brought the contest to a 2-2 score at 13:29 of the second, capping off a passing play after an errant pass from Dmitry Osipov was picked off in the slot.
The Cyclones finished the game with a 24-20 shot advantage. Neither team could capitalize on the power play, while both sides chipped in a shorthanded goal; Indy was 0-for-3 with the extra skater while Cincinnati was 0-for-5.
The Fuel continue a three-in-three series Saturday night with a critical road showdown with the Kalamazoo Wings. Puck drop from Wings Event Center is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.
Single-game tickets are now on sale for the Fuel’s 5th anniversary season at Indiana Farmers Coliseum! Lock up your seat for every second of the action at Indiana Farmers Coliseum with a Fuel Ticket Plan – grab yours by heading to IndyFuelHockey.com or by calling the Fuel front office at 317-925-FUEL. Don’t forget to follow the Fuel on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (IndyFuel) for news, updates, contests and much more throughout the 2018-19 season.
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