During a three-game series that took place over Memorial Day Weekend, the Indy Fuel hosted their I-69 rival Fort Wayne Komets, where they won two of three, their one loss coming in overtime. The Fuel moved to 35-23-8-0 on the season and sit in third place in the Eastern Conference with three regular season games left to play.
Friday May 28: Komets Come Back and Top Fuel 2-1 in OT
On Friday May 28th, the Indy Fuel faced off against the Fort Wayne Komets in the first of three games over Memorial Day Weekend. Fuel goaltender Sean Romeo went head-to-head with Komets backstop Robbie Beydoun.
After a slow start to the opening period, the hometown Fuel were handed a two-man advantage. Morgan Adams-Moisan received a whistle for charging, while Nick Boka had been called for holding. Despite a good effort on the power play, the Fuel would come up empty, which allowed Fort Wayne to kill off both penalties. Both teams put up some good shots in the first, but eventually, the period would come to a close with both sides still in need of a goal.
The second period began with Indy on the man advantage for the remaining 52 seconds of an AJ Jenks tripping penalty near the end of the first. While the home team was unsuccessful on the power play, the Fuel would soon pull ahead. 7:25 into the frame, Peter Kreiger, who recently returned to the Circle City from his AHL stint, put Indy on the scoresheet first. Despite both teams getting chances on the man advantage later on, the second would come to a close with the Komets trailing 1-0 after 40 minutes.
The third period began with a relatively slow start. Both teams exchanged some shots, but Romeo and Beydoun both stood on their heads. With 6:25 remaining on the clock, Fort Wayne finally got on the board. A shot from Matt Murphy beat Romeo, which tied the game up at one apiece. The Komets kept the momentum going and put the pressure on, but eventually the third would end, still knotted at one.
The overtime period followed and would prove to be short lived. Just 29 seconds into the extra frame, Fort Wayne would get out on an odd-man rush, where Brandon Hawkins would send them home with the game-winner.
Peter Kreiger; assisted by Willie Raskob and Tommy Apap
One interesting thing to note about this game: The Fuel hosted their Hockey is for Everyone Night. The players donned rainbow jerseys, which were auctioned off after the game. The Indy Fuel are the first ECHL team to partner with pride tape, which many players also donned on their sticks.
Saturday May 29: Fuel Top Komets in Exciting Shootout Victory
On Saturday May 29, the Fuel faced off against the Komets for the second game of the weekend series. Indy looked to bounce back against Fort Wayne after dropping the game prior in overtime. This game saw Fuel netminder Billy Christopoulos go up against the likes of Dylan Ferguson.
The Komets came out strong to start the game, but the Fuel would eventually get on the board first. Just 3:52 into the opening period, Terry Broadhurst found the back of the net, this giving the home team a 1-0 lead. Indy successfully killed off a Nick Hutchison roughing penalty, but would quickly find themselves shorthanded again, as Cedric Lacroix was later called for charging. This time, the visitors would capitalize on their power play opportunity. A Brandon Hawkins power play goal would tie things up at one before the end of the period.
The second frame would turn out to be an exciting one. Just over one minute in, the Fuel would take a 2-1 lead over Fort Wayne when Spencer Watson got a hold of a rebound and swiftly found the back of the net. Shortly after Indy took the lead, Morgan Adams-Moisan dropped the gloves with Jordan Schneider in what ended up being the first of three fights to take place. Halfway through the middle frame, the visitors would tie the game up at two when a shot by Anthony Nellis made its way between the pipes behind Ferguson. Despite the goal, the contest wouldn’t be tied for long. Hutchison would pot successfully bury a wraparound with just under six minutes left on the clock. A medley of penalties soon followed, but both would head to the locker room with the Komets down by one.
Both teams had a number of chances in the second, but both backstops kept their respective teams intact. It wouldn’t be until the 14:08 mark of the final frame that another goal would be scored. A shot fired by Alan Lyszczarczyk trickled in behind Christopoulos and the Fuel and Komets would find the game tied once again. Seemingly approaching another overtime, Indy found themselves on the man advantage with only 38 seconds left after a delay of game penalty. Despite a good effort by the home team, Indy and Fort Wayne would head to an period for a second consecutive night.
Fort Wayne went on to kill their penalty in overtime. After a lot of back-and-forth between the two teams, the clock would die down to zero and the game would head to a shootout. The first round would see Terry Broadhurst go up against Brandon Hawkins. Both players would score for their teams, this keeping the tie well intact. Neither team would successfully net one in the next three rounds. In the fifth and concluding round, winger Jared Thomas beat Ferguson, while Christopoulos stopped a shot from Zach Pochiro, handing to Indy a 4-3 victory over the Komets.
Terry Broadhurst; assisted by Jared Thomas and Willie Raskob
Spencer Watson; assisted by Willie Raskob and Jared Thomas
Nick Hutchison; assisted by Terry Broadhurst and Keoni Texeira
Jared Thomas (GWG)
Monday May 31: Fuel Top Komets in Final Season Meeting
On Monday May 31st, the Fuel squared off against the Komets for the 21st and final time this season. Indy looked to keep the momentum going after an exciting shootout victory on Saturday night. Both teams stuck with Saturday’s goalie tandem, with Billy Christopoulos going up against Dylan Ferguson.
Fort Wayne came out strong to start the first period, controlling much of the opening half. They would take the lead at the 8:44 mark when Zach Pochiro, on a Fuel turnover, got out in front of Christopoulos and found the back of the net. Two minutes later, Indy found themselves on the power play with Oliver Cooper sent to the box on a tripping call. The man advantage would soon turn to a two-man advantage, as AJ Jenks received a call for elbowing. Capitalizing on the power play, Terry Broadhurst got the home team on the board, which forced yet another tie between the two clubs. The Fuel came up empty on the power play, however, soon after took a 2-1 lead. Right as the Jenks penalty expired, Michael Pelech deflected a shot that, to his good fortune, got right by Ferguson. That would see Indy hold a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.
Hitting the ice for the second, the Fuel broke right out of the gates. Five minutes into the middle frame, Indy would double their lead, now up 3-1, following a goal from Nick Hutchison. Holding the upper hand, the Fuel would soon after find themselves shorthanded. Indy’s penalty kill was hard at work, but the team went on to kill back-to-back two-man advantages. Soon after leaving the box, Alex Rauter scored a goal of his own, putting the Komets down 3, trailing now 4-1.
Fort Wayne came out strong to start the third, quickly outshooting Indy, but Christopoulos continued holding his ground. The Fuel would maintain their lead until the 3:14 mark of the final frame. That saw Marc-Olivier Roy find the mesh, as he beat Christopoulos, cutting Indy’s lead to two. With 1:47 left on the clock, the Komets opted to pull Ferguson for the extra attacker. However, both teams would get called for roughing, so Ferguson re-entered the crease for some four-on-four hockey. That led to a Dimitry Osipov goal to extend the Fuel’s lead with 1:08 left on the clock. Indy would maintain that lead and took the season finale by a score of 5-2.
Terry Boradhurst; assisted by Dimitry Osipov
Michael Pelech; assisted by Spencer Watson and Keoni Texeira
Nick Hutchison; assisted by Terry Broadhurst and Matt Marcinew
Alex Rauter; assisted by Matt Marcinew and Josh Dickinson
Dimitry Osipov; assisted by Jared Thomas and Matt Marcinew
With three regular seasons game left, one at home against Kansas City, and two on the road against Wheeling, Indy looks to clinch a spot in the Kelly Cup Playoffs.