Fuel roar back for overtime victory in Kalamazoo
Matheson Iacopelli completes three-goal comeback with game-winner as Indy clips Wings 4-3Mar 10, 2018
KALAMAZOO, MICH. –The Indy Fuel (29-28-2-1) filed another entry in their growing collection of resilient performances, scoring four unanswered goals to seize a 4-3 overtime victory over the Kalamazoo Wings (28-25-4-2) Saturday night at Wings Event Center. Rookie forward Matheson Iacopelli capped off the comeback effort with the game-winning goal 2:37 into the bonus period, earning the Fuel their second straight victory, pulling them to within one point of the Wings for possession of fifth place in the ECHL Central Division standings.
After climbing back from a two-goal deficit in Friday night’s win over Cincinnati, Indy found itself down 3-0 in the late stages of the second period in Kalamazoo. Indy’s latest rally started with a power play goal off the stick of Alex Wideman with under four minutes left in the middle frame. Just 34 seconds after Justin Taylor gave the Wings a three-goal lead with a shorthanded tally, Wideman converted a cross-ice feed from Ryan Rupert for his 15th marker of the season.
Trailing by two after 40 minutes of play, the Fuel began to take over the game in the third period. Indy found several quality scoring chances on Kalamazoo netminder Joel Martin in the early going, and eventually pulled back to within one near the halfway point of the frame. Defenseman Garrett Clarke finished off a strong shift in the offensive end by beating Martin from the high slot, moments after the goaltender denied Darian Dziurzynski and Josh Shalla at point blank range.
Shalla followed his secondary assist on Clarke’s goal with one of his own to tie the game at three at 13:21 of the third. After picking up a drop pass from Michael Neal, the Fuel sniper dragged the puck across the middle and fired a shot between the legs of a defenseman and through Martin for his 15th goal of the year.
In the overtime session, it was the speed of Iacopelli that helped Indy grab its fourth victory in its last five trips to Wings Event Center. The rookie forward took a pass from Clarke at the defensive blue line and turned on the jets, catching a Kalamazoo defender flat-footed before hoisting a backhand over Martin’s glove. Iacopelli has scored the game-winning goal in each of the Fuel’s last three victories, amassing a total of 10 points (9g, 1a) in nine games since being reassigned to Indy.
Backstopping the Fuel comeback was goaltender Matt Tomkins, who turned aside 46 of 49 shots en route to picking up his second straight win. The rookie made 32 saves through the first two periods, and was steady in overtime with three saves. Martin was saddled with the loss, stopping 31 of 35 Indy shots faced.
Kalamazoo claimed the only goal in a tight-fought first period, when Danny Moynihan finished a 2-on-1 rush with Taylor at 18:46. Josh Pitt doubled the hometown advantage at 12:49 of the middle frame with a seeing-eye shot through traffic, before Taylor’s shorthanded breakaway strike rounded out the Wings goal scoring..
Pending the results of Saturday night’s Kansas City Mavericks – Idaho Steelheads game in Boise, the Fuel could be as close as two points back of the Mavericks for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central. Indy closes out its weekend slate Sunday afternoon with a trip to Huntington Center to take on the Division-leading Toledo Walleye.
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