Fuel pull away late to defeat Mallards 4-1
Matt Tomkins turns aside 45 shots as Indy begins road trip with win in Quad CityFeb 9, 2018
MOLINE, ILL. – The Indy Fuel (20-21-2-1) strung together three unanswered goals to break open a third period stalemate, en route to a 4-1 victory over the Quad City Mallards Friday night at TaxSlayer Center. With the win, the Fuel snapped a two game skid as they kicked a season-defining seven game road swing. Now 8-3 in its last 11 outings away from Central Indiana, Indy heads to Kalamazoo Saturday for a pivotal two-game set with the Wings.
Goaltender Matt Tomkins stopped 45 of 46 shots in his return to the Fuel lineup, helping the visitors halt the Mallards’ four game winning streak. The trio of Ryan Rupert, Matt Rupert and Josh Shalla provided Indy’s offensive punch with a goal and an assist each.
The first two periods belonged to the netminders, as Tomkins and Quad City’s C.J. Motte matched each other save for save in a goaltenders’ duel. With Indy up 1-0 to start the third period, the game’s turning point came after Mallards forward Matt Pohlkamp broke through to even the score 4:07 into the final frame.
Instead of allowing Quad City to build off the equalizer, the Fuel struck back just 29 seconds later to reclaim the lead. Matt Rupert won a puck battle and finished off a Robin Press rebound for the eventual game-winner – his ninth goal of the season.
Indy added cushion to their lead later in the frame, when Stephen Collins and Ryan Rupert found the net just 1:36 apart from one another. Collins found himself open to tap home a feed from Darian Dziurzynski at 12:40 of the third, before Rupert beat Motte from the top of the left circle on the power play at 14:16. With the two points, Ryan Rupert moves into a tie with Michael Neal for the Fuel season scoring lead with 31 points apiece.
Josh Shalla opened the scoring for Indy just over the halfway point in the first period, finishing off a 3-on-2 rush with the Rupert brothers for his 11th marker of the season. The Fuel were able to maintain the 1-0 lead to the end of the period and throughout the second, thanks in large part to Tomkins’ stellar play.
Reassigned from AHL Rockford on Thursday and making his first start since Dec. 23, Tomkins stopped at least 15 shots in all three periods as Quad City outshot Indy by a 46-33 margin. The rookie netminder improved to 5-3-0 on the season, while Motte suffered the loss with 29 saves for the Mallards.
The Fuel won both sides of the special teams battle Friday, finishing 1-for-2 on the power play while holding the Mallards scoreless through four chances with the man advantage.
Just two weeks after sweeping a two-game set in Kalamazoo, Indy returns to Wings Event Center for another Saturday-Sunday doubleheader. Puck drop for game one is set for 7 p.m. ET.
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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