Steelheads ride second period surge to take down Fuel
Indy falls 5-3 in first-ever meeting with IdahoOct 30, 2018
INDIANAPOLIS – The Indy Fuel (3-3-0-0) opened a busy four-game week with a 5-3 setback to the Idaho Steelheads (4-3-0-1) Tuesday night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Four second period goals helped the Steelheads break open 1-1 tie, handing the Fuel their second consecutive loss. Indy concludes a brief midweek homestand on Thursday as they welcome the Utah Grizzlies to Central Indiana, before road visits to Fort Wayne on Friday and Wheeling on Saturday.
For the second consecutive game, the Fuel fell victim to quick-strike scoring from their opponent. After Kansas City scored four goals late in the first period to turn the tide in Saturday’s loss to the Mavericks, Idaho used four goals in a span of 4:21 in the second period to take control of the contest on Tuesday. Forward Brad McClure picked up a pair of goals for the Steelheads, while goaltender Tomas Sholl stymied an Indy comeback attempt with a strong 34 save performance.
A bizarre bounce helped the Fuel take an early 1-0 lead in the first-ever meeting between the two clubs. A Dimitry Osipov dump-in took a sharp carom off a glass stanchion, bouncing right to the stick of Radovan Bondra. With Sholl caught behind the net anticipating the puck’s arrival, Bondra had a wide-open net for his first goal of the season at 8:46 of the first. McClure evened the score with just over two minutes left in the opening frame, swatting a rebound past netminder Matt Tomkins (29 saves) for his first goal of the night.
Indy had a few chances to regain the lead early in the second period, but it was the Steelheads who broke the 1-1 tie at 7:04 when defenseman Clint Lewis hammered a point shot through traffic and behind Tomkins. Spencer Naas doubled Idaho’s lead just over two minutes later, and McClure converted a wrap-around attempt 59 seconds after Naas’ tally. Defenseman Jack King capped the rally at 11:25 of the second, intercepting a Fuel clearing attempt and sneaking a wrist shot under the crossbar.
The Fuel snapped the Steelheads’ string of goals late in the second period, when Josh Shalla cleaned up a rebound left by Ryan Rupert at 17:14. Matt Rupert picked up the secondary assist as Shalla extended his season-opening point streak to six games.
Looking to reverse a 5-2 deficit, Indy carried the play in the third period but could only muster one more goal past Sholl, who made 17 of his 34 stops in the final frame. Defenseman Neil Manning threaded a point shot through a crowd at 15:17 to bring the Fuel to within two, but Idaho was able to hang on for the victory. Manning’s first career ECHL goal was assisted by Quentin Shore, who picked up his third point in his last two outings.
Indy finished the evening scoreless on five power play opportunities, though Manning’s late tally came during a stretch of 4-on-4 play. The Steelheads were 1-for-4 on the night.
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