Indy rides into holiday break with huge victory in Kalamazoo
Kevin Dufour scores twice as Fuel hold on for 5-4 triumph over WingsDec 23, 2018
KALAMAZOO, MICH. – The Indy Fuel (14-13-0-0) made their way into the ECHL’s holiday break on a high note, edging the Kalamazoo Wings (14-12-0-1) 5-4 Saturday night at Wings Event Center. Forward Kevin Dufour scored twice, while Quentin Shore added a goal and two assists to help the Fuel build a 5-2 lead after two periods of play, enough of a cushion to hold off a late rally from the Wings.
Facing a red-hot Kalamazoo club that entered Saturday’s game with 10 wins over its last 12 games, Indy built a 3-0 lead in the first period of play. Dufour opened the scoring at 5:21, slipping the puck behind Wings goaltender Jake Hildebrand (23 saves) after defenseman Neil Manning found him unmarked in the slot. Just over a minute later, Josh Shalla fired a pass from Shore into the top corner to double the Fuel’s advantage.
Shore would find the net himself later in the opening frame to stretch Indy’s lead to 3-0. Attacking the Kalamazoo blue line on a 3-on-2 rush, Shore stepped into a one-timer from Radovan Bondra from the top of the right circle, beating Hildebrand to the blocker side.
The three-goal lead was short lived, as the Wings struck back with two goals in 13 seconds before the end of the first period. Reid Gardiner got the home team on the board at 17:41 when he slid a backhand shot behind Fuel netminder Matt Tomkins (27 saves). On the next shift, Tanner Sorenson hammered an errant Indy breakout pass into the back of the net to send the game into the first intermission at a 3-2 score.
The Fuel tacked on two more goals in the second period, both coming on the power play. Logan Nelson capped off a net-mouth scramble in front of Hildebrand to make it 4-2 at the 2:53 mark of the frame. Indy restored its three-goal edge at 16:35 of the second, when Dufour picked up his team-leading 14th goal of the season. With puck possession in the Wings zone, a quick passing play from Shore to Olivier Labelle found Dufour open for the finish from the left face-off dot. The power play tally capped off the second-consecutive two-goal outing for Dufour, while Labelle logged two assists for the second time in as many games.
Two quick goals from Kalamazoo whittled Indy’s lead to just one in the early stages of the third. Chris Collins broke loose for a shorthanded breakaway goal just 38 seconds into the final frame, before Sorenson scored his second goal of the night on the power play to make it 5-4 at 2:55.
The Wings continued to mount offensive pressure as the third period progressed, but Tomkins saved his best work for late in the game to preserve the Fuel lead. The second-year netminder stopped nine of 11 shots in the final stanza, including an incredible diving stop to deny Collins on the doorstep with just over a minute left in regulation.
Indy finished the contest 2-for-7 on the power play, while holding the Wings to one goal on eight chances of their own. The Fuel penalty kill unit was key in the third period, thwarting a four-minute advantage after Matt Rupert was assessed a double-minor for high sticking.
The game was marked by a scary moment in the first period, when Fuel captain Zach Miskovic was removed from the ice on a stretcher after being hit into the boards by Kalamazoo’s Zach Saar. Transported to a nearby hospital following the hit, Miskovic was eventually cleared and released, and rejoined the team for their trip back to Indianapolis.
Following a brief break for Christmas, the Fuel will return to action on Thursday when they meet the Wheeling Nailers to kick off a three game weekend at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
Single-game tickets are now on sale for the Fuel’s 5th anniversary season at Indiana Farmers Coliseum! Lock up your seat for every second of the action at Indiana Farmers Coliseum with a Fuel Ticket Plan – grab yours by heading to IndyFuelHockey.com or by calling the Fuel front office at 317-925-FUEL. Don’t forget to follow the Fuel on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (IndyFuel) for news, updates, contests and much more throughout the 2018-19 season.
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