Resilient Fuel close week with road win in Wheeling
Five second period goals help Indy to 5-3 triumph over NailersNov 3, 2018
(Photo courtesy of Zack Rawson / Wheeling Nailers)
WHEELING, W.V. – The Indy Fuel (5-4-0-0) put an exclamation point on a grueling four-game week by claiming a 5-3 come-from-behind victory over the Wheeling Nailers (1-4-0-0) Saturday night at WesBanco Arena. Five goals in a span of 9:30 in the second period helped the Fuel erase an early 2-0 deficit en route to earning their first road victory of the 2018-19 season. Indy finished the week with an even 2-2 record, taking four of six points from a Thursday-Friday-Saturday tripleheader.
Josh Shalla continued his blazing start to the season with a goal and two assists, while Kevin Dufour (2 goals) and Connor Moynihan (1g, 1a) added multi-point efforts to lead the Fuel’s second period onslaught. Olivier Labelle also chipped in a goal as Indy put a damper on Wheeling’s home opener.
Playing for the fourth time in five nights, the Fuel faced a tough assignment as they met a rested Nailers squad which hadn’t seen game action since last Sunday. Wheeling was able to build a 2-0 lead during a penalty-filled first period, killing off four separate Fuel power plays before striking twice in the late stages of the frame.
Troy Josephs opened the scoring for the home team with an unassisted tally at 16:48, beating Indy goaltender Kevin Lankinen inside the far post from the right circle. The Nailers doubled their lead just over two minutes later when Zac Lynch threaded a shot through a screen in transition.
Despite starting the second period on the penalty kill, the Fuel quickly took control of the contest as the middle frame began. A shorthanded tally from Moynihan got Indy on the board at the 1:44 mark, with a lone assist credited to Mathew Thompson. Just 40 seconds after Moynihan’s goal, Dufour evened the score at two when he capitalized on a miscue from Wheeling goaltender John Muse (19 saves). With Logan Nelson chasing down a loose puck entering the Nailer end, Muse dove out with a diving poke check only to leave the trailing Dufour with an open net. The second-year forward beat Muse again with a wrist shot through traffic at 6:58 of the second, giving Indy a 3-2 lead with his third goal of the season.
The Fuel stretched the lead to 4-2 at 9:43 when Olivier Labelle cashed in on a 5-on-3 power play. After taking a drop pass from Ryan Rupert, Shalla slid a pinpoint pass through the slot to a waiting Labelle off the left post, who swatted in his team-leading fifth goal of the campaign. Labelle has now found the net in three straight games, recording a total of five points (3g, 2a) over that span.
Shalla capped off the five-goal deluge at 11:14 with his fourth of the season, taking a breakout feed from Moynihan and snapping a wrist shot past Muse on a 2-on-1 rush. Logging his fourth multi-point game of the season, Indy’s leading goal scorer from a year ago has now found the scoresheet in nine straight games to start the season.
Wheeling trimmed the Fuel lead to 5-3 at 12:57 of the second when Josephs finished a rebound for his second of the night, but Indy tightened up defensively to keep the home team from getting any closer.
Lankinen picked up the victory in net for Indy, ending the night with 26 saves – stopping all 13 shots he faced in a scoreless third period.
Indy’s power play connected once on eight opportunities, while the Nailers finished the night 1-for-5.
The Fuel return to action next weekend with a home-and-home doubleheader with the Cincinnati Cyclones, beginning at U.S. Bank Arena on Friday night. The two teams face off again Saturday night on Pucks & Paws Night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum, as fans are invited to bring their dogs with them to the game.
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.
-- INDYFUELHOCKEY.COM --