Fuel pull through for overtime win in Cincinnati
Ryan Rupert connects on overtime power play to give Indy 4-3 victory over CyclonesMar 20, 2018
CINCINNATI – A power play blast from forward Ryan Rupert in the final minute of overtime lifted the Indy Fuel (31-29-3-1) to a momentous 4-3 victory over the Cincinnati Cyclones (35-26-2-0) Tuesday night at U.S. Bank Arena. With the win, the Fuel moved into a fifth place tie with the Kalamazoo Wings in the Central Division standings, trailing the Kansas City Mavericks by two points for the Central’s final playoff berth.
A rare overtime power play opportunity set the stage for Ryan Rupert’s second walk-off winner in the Queen City this season. After a Cincinnati bench minor for too-many-men sent Indy to a 4-on-3 advantage, defenseman Robin Press found Rupert waiting in the high slot. The Fuel’s leading scorer stepped into a one-timer, sending it over the shoulder of Cyclones goaltender Jason Kasdorf with 22 seconds left in overtime for his 16th goal of the season.
Before Indy could improve to 7-2 over Cincinnati this season, it had to withstood a comeback effort from the home team – led by a three-goal performance from forward Justin Vaive. The Cyclones’ top goal-scorer helped his club rally from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to push the game past regulation time, completing his hat trick on a redirection with 6:55 left in the third period. For the second straight game, the Fuel were driven to the extra frame after taking a lead into the third period of play.
Looking to avenge a 6-1 loss at U.S. Bank Arena last Friday, the Fuel jumped out to a two-goal lead in the opening four minutes of the first period. Garrett Clarke gave Indy a 1-0 lead at 2:54 when he capped off a 2-on-1 rush with defenseman Riley Sweeney. Just 55 seconds later, a strong individual effort from Logan Nelson set up Michael Neal with an open net for his 17th goal of the campaign.
Vaive brought Cincinnati back to even ground before the end of the period with a pair of power play tallies; redirecting a Mike Barrett back door pass at 6:54, before knocking a rebound behind Indy netminder Étienne Marcoux at 13:37.
Indy controlled the pace in the second period, putting a total of 14 shots on Kasdorf and reclaiming the lead with Josh Shalla’s third goal in as many games. Shalla corralled an errant Darian Dziurzynski shot attempt behind the net, stuffing the puck inside the right post to give the Fuel a 3-2 edge 3:13 into the middle frame. Rookie Mathew Thompson recorded his first professional point with a secondary assist on the play – the former Adrian College forward joined the team on an amateur tryout contract earlier Tuesday.
Both team’s special teams were a factor in a clash of the ECHL’s top two power play units. Indy finished 1-for-5 with the power play, while the Cyclones scored twice on four attempts.
Making his first appearance since returning from his loan to the American Hockey League’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Marcoux turned aside 17 shots for his 17th victory of the season. Kasdorf was billed with the overtime loss, stopping 34 of 38 Fuel attempts.
Next up for Indy is a Friday night showdown with the Fort Wayne Komets at Indiana Farmers Coliseum, with puck drop slated for 7:35 p.m.
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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