Mallards edge Fuel in shootout
Fuel fall 4-3 in Quad City, pick up point in road trip finaleNov 3, 2017
MOLINE, ILL. – The Indy Fuel (2-3-1-1) concluded their four-game road swing Friday night, suffering a 4-3 shootout loss to the Quad City Mallards (4-3-0-0) at TaxSlayer Center. The Fuel picked up three points (1-2-0-1) from their extended stretch away from home ice, and will return to Indiana Farmers Coliseum Saturday night against the Wheeling Nailers.
Forwards Tristan King and Justin Kovacs beat goaltender Étienne Marcoux in the shootout, giving Quad City the extra point in the first of 11 meetings between the Central Division rivals. Indy will head back to Moline for a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader next weekend.
The Fuel showed resiliency Friday, erasing a pair of one-goal deficits before taking a lead of their own into the third period. The Mallards struck first 2:30 into play when Sam Warning slipped a backhand behind Marcoux on the power play. Quad City’s lead only lasted 123 seconds before Nick Bligh brought the Fuel to even ground with his third goal of the season and second in as many games. Reed Seckel intercepted a pass at Indy’s defensive blue line and set up Bligh, who entered the zone and beat netminder Ivan Kulbakov over the blocker.
After sustaining plenty of offensive pressure throughout the second period, the Mallards reclaimed their lead at 14:08 of the middle frame when Alex Globke got a redirect on a Kyle Bigos point. But Indy again had a quick response, rallying with two goals in the final 1:59 of the second.
Matt Rupert tied the game at two at 18:01 when he converted a centering pass off the stick of twin brother Ryan Rupert from behind the Quad City net. Soon after Rupert’s third goal of the campaign, an offensive zone draw with three seconds left helped the Fuel grab their first lead of the night. After getting thrown out of a draw to the left of the Mallards net, Cam Reid took a clean face-off win from Bligh and snapped a wrist shot past Kulbakov with six tenths of a second left on the clock. The goal extended a season-opening point streak to seven games for Reid, whose eight points paces the Fuel roster.
However, the Mallards found an equalizer of their own at 6:28 of the final frame when Matt Pohlkamp beat Marcoux on the short side from the left circle.
Both teams had a handful of great scoring opportunities in the five-minute overtime period, but Marcoux and Kulbakov matched each other save for save in a battle of rookie goaltenders. Quad City held an 8-3 edge in shots during the extra frame, but Marcoux and the Fuel defense held firm – killing off a Mallards power play in the process.
Making his Fuel debut, Marcoux finished with 44 saves while swallowing the overtime decision. Kulbakov turned aside 29 shots plus two shootout attempts – picking up his third straight victory for the Mallards, each coming beyond regulation time.
Indy was held scoreless in two power play opportunities Friday, while Quad City connected once on six attempts.
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