Late third-period goal vaults Fuel into Winner's Circle
Mike Neal scores game-winner, Matt Tomkins makes 48 saves in 3-2 win over WheelingDec 8, 2017
INDIANAPOLIS – Mike Neal’s late, dramatic goal with only 3:04 remaining in regulation time vaulted the home standing Indy Fuel to a 3-2 victory over the Wheeling Nailers Friday night at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
Indy had forged a 2-2 tie midway through the second period when Tommy Olczyk connected for his 5th goal of season at the 10:52 mark. The Olczyk goal came just 2:22 after Riley Bourbonnais’ second goal of the same stanza had lifted the visitors into their first and only lead of the night at 2-1.
Fuel first-year goaltender Matt Tomkins, returning to the lineup following a 6-weeks’ absence due to injury, was simply scintillating throughout the contest; especially in that middle frame of the game when he faced a Nailers’ 26-shots’ siege, the most shots surrendered by Indy in a single period thus far this season.
The Fuel had gained a 1-0 first period advantage when Nathan Noel scored his 3rd goal of the season. It marked only the 7th time in 19-games that the Fuel had scored the game’s first goal and the second time that Noel had accomplished the feat.
Tangling with the league’s second highest scoring machine in the form of the Nailers and the league’s top power play unit, the Fuel were definitely equal to the task. Indy closed down the Wheeling power play on all 4 of its advantages including 3-consecutively in that second stanza. Indy was 0-1 with its extra man.
Wheeling outshot the Fuel, 50-31 but were limited to a scant 6-shots on goal in the third period. Tomkins earned the game’s #1 Star with his 48-saves masterpiece to hike his record to 2(2-0-0) for the season.
The Mike Neal-Nathan Noel-Reed Seckel combination was paramount for the victorious Indy club. Neal and Noel each engineered 1-goal, 1-assist while Seckel assisted twice. Moreover, Neal and Seckel posted brilliant +3 ratings, Noel was +2. Neal was named the game’s #2 Star, Noel earned third star honors.
The Fuel have won their last 2-starts at home and will quest to make it 3-in a row Saturday night when they play host to Mountain Division leading Wichita at 7:35 pm at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum on the Fuel’s annual, ever-popular “Teddy Bear Toss Night.”
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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