Throughout the course of the weekend, the Indy Fuel took on their crosstown rival in the Fort Wayne Komets at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The Fuel went 1-2 during the series, improving to 20-6-1 on the season.
Friday, February 26: Fuel Come From Behind and Win in OT
On Friday February 26th, the Indy Fuel and Fort Wayne Komets went head-to-head in the first of three contests. Fuel goalie Billy Christopoulos went head-to-head with Komets goalie Stefanos Lekkas.
It was a slow start to the game on Friday night in the series opener. It wasn’t until halfway through the first that a team would get started and get themselves on the scoreboard. That team was the Fort Wayne Komets, who opened the scoring at the 9:32 mark. It was Canadian forward Matt Boudens who gave them the lead, as they kicked off their road trip.
Indy would get a chance on the power play with about five minutes left in the period, but came up empty and would head back to the locker room trailing.
The Fuel came out much stronger to start the second, but still were unable to find the back of the net. With two minutes remaining in the period, Nic Pierog was handed a tripping penalty and the Fuel would head back to the penalty kill. As the period wound down, it was looking like Indy would kill off the penalty, however, were unsuccessful in doing so.
With 2.2 seconds remaining, Anthony Petruzzelli found the back of the net, this putting the Komets up ahead 2-0. He did so with nine seconds left to go on the power play. Fort Wayne carried this lead into the game’s final frame.
A minute and a half into the third, the Indy Fuel finally got onto the board. Chris Martenet put a wrist shot behind Lekkas, this allowing the home team to break through, now drawing within one. It wasn’t until halfway through the frame that Indy would manage to tie it up.
With 9:38 left in the third, winger Nic Pierog fired a wrist shot past Lekkas, this allowing the Fuel to tie the game up at two. Fast forward to the 13:02 mark, Indy was given a chance to go ahead on the power play, as winger Brandon Hawkins was charged a five-minute major for boarding. The Komets however, successfully killed off the Fuel’s man-advantage, which forced the game into sudden death overtime.
Fort Wayne had a great chance to end it all early, but rang it off the post, keeping the game knotted at two apiece. Mike Lee forced a Komets turnover and his pass found Matt Marcinew, who, from there, took care of business. The forward went five-hole on Lekkas, this giving the Fuel a 3-2 overtime victory.
Chris Martenet; assisted by Jared Thomas and Michael McNicholas
Nic Pierog; assisted by Chris Martenet and Tim Shoup
Matt Marcinew; assisted by Mike Lee
Saturday, February 27: Fuel Fall 8-1 to Komets in Saturday Night Tilt
On Saturday February 27th, the Indy Fuel and Fort Wayne Komets went at it for the second game of their three-game series. It was a really rough game for the Fuel, as they allowed eight goals, tying a franchise record for most goals allowed at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Dan Bakala started in net for the Fuel, going up against Stefanos Lekkas, who got the start again in net for Fort Wayne.
The Komets got the scoring started early with a slap-shot from Zach Pochiro, which allowed them to go ahead early, 1-0. With 3:31 left in the period, Anthony Nellis was whistled for hooking, which saw the Indy Fuel find themselves on the power play. Despite having the man advantage, the Fuel really struggled against their visitors from Fort Wayne.
Speaking of the devil, Spencer Smallman scored a shorthanded goal, this putting Fort Wayne ahead 2-0. As if giving up one shorthanded goal wasn’t enough for Indy, they found themselves quickly trailing 3-0 as the clock died down after the opening 20 minutes. Just before the siren sounded, Jason Cotton, while on the penalty kill, found the back of the net, giving the Komets some insurance.
The Fuel needed to bounce back in the second, but instead, the Komets kept their momentum going. Halfway through the middle frame, winger Zach Pochiro got out on a breakaway and scored his second of the night to go ahead 4-0. At the 9:41 mark of the period, Cliff Watson took a seat for slashing, which saw Fort Wayne take advantage of their power play.
Stephen Harper buried in his own rebound, this seeing the Komets gain a 5-0 lead. Within just 24 seconds, the Komets had extended their goal lead to six. They did so, as Blake Siebenaler, from the blue line, unleashed a laser, finding a hole right by Bakala. Again, Indy was handed a power play, as Matthew Boudens received a call for high sticking.
Back to even strength, the Fuel continued trailing Fort Wayne, as Spencer Smallman scored a shorthanded goal, his second of the night, now going up 7-0. Heading into the final frame, Indy made a much-need change, as they removed Dan Bakala in favour of Billy Christopoulos. In the early goings of the period, the Fuel would head back to the penalty kill, allowing Anthony Nellis to extend Fort Wayne’s lead to eight. With 58 seconds left on the clock, Michael Pelech finally put Indy on the board, but couldn’t do further damage, falling 8-1 to the Komets.
Michael Pelech; assisted by David Broll and Ross Olsson
Sunday, February 28: Fuel Fall 3-0 to Komets in Final Game of Weekend
On Sunday February 28th, the Fuel looked for a much-need win against the Fort Wayne Komets in game three of the series. Billy Christopoulos got the nod for the Fuel, as he went head-to-head with backstop Louis-Phillip Guindon.
The Komets broke out of the gates hot, as they started the scoring early on the opening period. It was Anthony Nellis with to get Fort Wayne on the board, as he got around Indy’s defence before Billy Christopoulos. Things got a little testy late in the frame and both Cedric Lacroix and Matthew Boudens were charged with five minute penalties for fighting. The Fuel would head back to the locker room being outshot 13-6, but only trailing 1-0.
About four minutes into the second period, the Komets took a 2-0 lead, as Justin Vaive took advantage of an Indy turnover and buried a wrister in the back of the net. The Fuel struggled to get anything going, even when given a power play opportunity halfway through.
With just over two minutes remaining, Fort Wayne would continue their tear, now leading 3-0. Jackson Leef buried the puck past Billy Christopoulos, a lead they would hold while heading back to the locker room.
Despite being handed another power play opportunity, Indy still wasn’t able to get into a groove and find the back of the net. They would also take several penalties late, killing any possibility they could have had at a scoring chance. Eventually, the final horn sounded, which saw Indy drop their second of the series, 3-0.
The Fuel return to action on Friday while remaining at home, as they play host to Kansas City. This will round out the team’s four-game home-stand. Puck drop at Indiana Farmers Coliseum is scheduled to fall at 7:05pmET. The two don’t meet again until March 19th, when they are hosted by the Mavericks.