Fuel Rewind: November 17 vs. Kalamazoo
Game breakdown and analysis from Indy Fuel Insider Andrew SmithNov 18, 2017
A big penalty kill can often be a springboard to seizing momentum.
The tandem of Nathan Noel and Reed Seckel went one further for the Indy Fuel Friday night, as they teamed up to set Noel up for two shorthanded goals in the first period, sparking the Fuel to a 6-2 victory over the Kalamazoo Wings at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
Noel scored his first two professional goals on his two shorthanded missives, but those weren’t the only firsts Friday night. Bolstered by a three-goal first period, Fuel netminder Etienne Marcoux stopped 45 shots to record his first victory with the Fuel.
“That was huge,” Marcoux said of the early goals. “It’s been a long time since we’ve had the lead first. The two goals on the PK gave us a lot of energy and a lot of confidence, too. We took that energy and kept going.”
Noel gave the Fuel a lead 11 minutes into the game when Seckel pressured a Wings defender and forced an errant pass, which Noel jumped on and broke to the net. After the Wings’ Josh Pitt tied the game on the power play, Seckel broke up another Wings power play rush. He fed Noel, who wired a shot from the right circle to restore a 2-1 lead.
“They were putting pressure on the puck,” Fuel coach Bernie John said. “When they don’t expect it, you can do that. Seckel was key – he finished his hit to allow Noel to get the breakaway to put it in. It got us rolling.”
Noel said he couldn’t recall scoring two shorthanded goals in a game – much less in less than four minutes – but was excited to score his first two professional goals.
“It couldn’t have been better, especially in a win,” Noel said. “In a loss, it’s kind of bittersweet. In a win, it’s everything.”
They were both key on the penalty kill, where the Fuel were 10-of-11, including six of seven in the opening period.
The kills came early, as the Fuel went shorthanded just 67 seconds into the game, and another two minutes later. Kalamazoo tested Marcoux early, with four shots on the first power play, but he held the fort and the defenders cleared loose pucks. It also allowed the Fuel netminder to get into a rhythm.
“As a goalie, I’d rather have more shots than less shots,” Marcoux said. “It makes me feel more confident, more in the game. With those power plays, I had to make some early saves and I felt great out there. It gave me some energy for the rest of the game.”
Cam Reid finished with a goal and two assists. With the teams playing 4-on-4, he gave the Fuel a 3-1 edge with 87 seconds left in the opening period, a big goal in extending the lead. It also chased Kalamazoo starter Michael Gartieg.
“It was big,” John said. “It’s always nice to be up two, rather than up one. It was a big, key moment. We were getting pucks on net. It’s something we can build off of, take a lot of the positives with our penalty kill and that we scored some goals.”
Reid then fed Nick Bligh for a goal 2:17 into the second to push the lead to 4-1. He dangled through the middle of the Wings’ box and set up Alex Wideman for a power-play one-timer midway through the third to ice the game at 5-2.
Tommy Olczyk added an empty-netter with 3:42 remaining.
The Fuel were outshot 47-23, including 18-6 in the opening period in which Kalamazoo had seven power plays. The Fuel successfully killed two more power plays in each the second and third periods, while taking advantage of their third-period power play to put the game away.
Reid and Wideman both finished with multi-point games, as Wideman had a goal and an assist. They skated with Radovan Bondra and Bligh on their right wing.
“We’ve done some video. They’re both guys who like to have the puck on their stick. We’ve shown them some plays where they can move it to each other,” John said. “We put Bligh back with those guys, and he’s a goal-scorer.
“Overall, it’s a good performance. We’re happy, but we’re not satisfied.”
1.Nathan Noel (Fuel) 2 SHG
2.Etienne Marcoux (Fuel) 45 saves
3.Cam Reid (Fuel) G, 2A
1. What more to say than the penalty kill. Other than the first power play which had four shots – and the one where they scored on a back-door play – the Wings had few good looks with the man advantage. And, of course, it led to two goals. “They always say your best penalty killer is your goaltender, and Marcoux was great,” John said. “He made some big saves. The guys were good in front of him, especially as far as clearing it. Lately, we’ve changed a bit, as far as putting more pressure in zones and forcing them to make plays.”
2. Marcoux came into the lineup after spending a week in his hometown with the American Hockey League’s Laval Rocket. He tried to put what he learned into practice after returning to the Fuel. “Every time you get a chance to get to a higher level, you try to learn, you try to see what those guys are doing every day to get better,” Marcoux said. “I had five days with the team, I spent some time with the goalie coach up there. He gave me some advice, and I tried to play with those adjustments tonight. It worked.”
3. Getting an early lead was key. Friday marked the fourth time the Fuel had scored first this season, and they exploded with three first-period goals. “It’s always easier playing with a lead,” Noel said. “Chasing the game isn’t fun.”
4. Not only did Nathan Noel tally his first two professional goals – and points – Fuel defenseman Jack Burton also had his first point with the assist on Tommy Olczyk’s empty-net goal. Burton has played 10 pro games with the Fuel over two seasons.
5. The Fuel have now killed 23 of the last 25 opponent power plays. They’ve also scored three shorthanded goals on the season.
6. The six goals were the most this season – and the most scored by the Fuel since April 4, when they beat Quad City 6-3.
7. Marcoux set a Fuel season high for most saves in a game – 45 – while the team also tied for the fewest shots on goal in a game, with 23. The 11 minor penalties and 10 penalty kills were also season highs.
8. Two players made their debuts with the Fuel Friday night. Defenseman Riley Sweeney was +1 on the day, while forward Stephen Collins also suited up and skated as the 10th forward.
9. Nolan Descoteaux and Reed Seckel each had assists, the first points for each in seven games. Olczyk tallied his first point in four games with his third-period empty-net goal. Nick Bligh and Cam Reid each broke two-game scoreless streaks.
10. Reid had the Fuel’s first three-point game of the season. It was the third multi-point game for both he and Alex Wideman.
11. Friday’s matchup was the first of 10 games between the Fuel and Wings. The next is scheduled for Dec. 20 at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
Radovan Bondra-Cam Reid-Alex Wideman
Matt Rupert-Michael Neal-Nick Bligh
Tommy Olczyk-Reed Seckel-Nathan Noel
Garrett Clarke-Riley Sweeney
Nolan Descoteaux-Zach Miskovic
Jack Burton-Robin Press
BU: Collin Delia
Scratches: Andrew Schmit, Brandon Anselmini, Ryan Rupert, Matt Tomkins (IR), Troy Vance (IR), Anthony Cortese (IR)
Next up: The Fuel host Tulsa at 7:35 p.m. Saturday for Marvel Super Hero Night.