Fuel outlast Nailers in season finale
Logan Nelson adds shootout winner to two-point night as Indy closes schedule with 5-4 win in WheelingApr 6, 2019
WHEELING, W.V. – The Indy Fuel (35-32-2-3) wrapped up its 2018-19 season schedule Saturday night with a victory as they edged the Wheeling Nailers 5-4 in a shootout at WesBanco Arena. Despite coming up short of a playoff berth in the Central Division, the Fuel finished their fifth season in the ECHL with 75 points, the second-highest point total in franchise history.
Logan Nelson capped off a two-point night (1g, 1a) with the lone goal in the shootout, giving Indy five of six possible points over the final week of the regular season. Josh Shalla and Olivier Labelle also tacked on a goal and an assist for the visiting Fuel, while defenseman Travis Brown tacked on a pair of assists. On the back end, rookie goaltender Chase Marchand turned aside 39 shots for Indy to record his first professional victory.
In a fast-paced, offensive-minded game that featured 89 total shots on goal, the Fuel jumped out to a 2-1 lead in the first period. Josh Shalla capitalized on a breakaway 12:48 into the game, giving Indy a 1-0 lead while becoming the first player in Fuel franchise history to hit the 30-goal mark in a season.
Nailers defenseman Johnny Austin evened the score at one at 16:03 with the first of his two goals on the night, but Indy answered back just 53 seconds later to reclaim the lead with a goal from Mathew Thompson. The league’s Rookie of the Month for March took an outlet pass from Labelle in the neutral zone before beating Wheeling netminder Matt O’Connor (41 saves) over the glove for his 21st goal and 50th point of the season.
Both clubs scored twice in the second period, with Labelle striking first to stretch the Fuel lead to 3-1 at 9:53 of the frame. Attacking on transition, the veteran forward chipped a rebound left from Brown over O’Connor for his 15th goal of the season. The two-goal lead did not last long, as the Nailers used goals from Austin and Alec Butcher just 28 seconds apart to tie the game at three. Indy jumped back on top before the end of the period, as Nelson fired his 16th goal of the season with just 5.6 seconds left in the second.
The Fuel’s 4-3 lead lasted late into the third period, before the Nailers pulled back to even ground with a power play goal from Winston Day Chief with 3:35 left in regulation time.
Indy held a 4-2 shot advantage in overtime, outshooting Wheeling by a 46-43 total margin. The Fuel finished 0-for-5 on the power play, while the Nailers went 1-for-4 on the third-period equalizer.
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