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Fuel bounced in Fort Wayne to begin home-and-home series

Saturday, December 16th
Fuel bounced in Fort Wayne to begin home-and-home series

FORT WAYNE, IND. - A carom of the puck turned out to be difference on Friday night, as the Indy Fuel (8-12-2-1) fell to the Fort Wayne Komets (14-7-2-0) by a final score of 5-2 at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. The two Hoosier State rivals will finish a weekend doubleheader Saturday night in a rematch at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.

With the game tied 2-2 late in the third period, the Fuel found themselves in a great spot to earn a hard-fought road victory. However, a wacky bounce turned out to be just the break Fort Wayne needed to secure its second straight win over Indy to start the season, and the Komets' eighth straight win over Indy in Allen County.

With 6:24 left in regulation, a routine shot attempt from Logan Nelson banked off the skate of Fuel defenseman Troy Vance. The rebound clipped the shoulder of Gabriel Desjardins, and fluttered inside the right post behind goaltender Matt Tomkins to give the Komets a 3-2 lead - one they would pad with a pair of empty net goals from Shawn Szydlowski and Jamie Schaafsma. Desjardins and Schaafsma each finished with two goals for Fort Wayne, while Szydlowski (1g, 1a) and Garrett Thompson (2a) also logged multi-point outings.

The remainder of the game's scoring took place in the second period, mostly in a frenetic three-minute span. After a scoreless opening 20 minutes, the Fuel got on the board first with Michael Neal's team-leading ninth goal of the season at 1:21 of the middle frame. Forward Nathan Noel won an offensive draw clean to the veteran forward, who ripped a one-timer past Komets netminder Michael Houser for his eighth marker in his last nine games.

Fort Wayne answered in a big way, scoring twice in a 0:49 span to grab a 2-1 lead - the first goal coming just 21 seconds after Neal put the Fuel in front. Desjardins tied the game at one, picking up a turnover caused by linemate Zac Larraza and snapping a wrist shot over Tomkins' glove. Moments later, a quick passing play from Thompson and Szydlowski led to a redirect goal from Schaafsma.

Indy was able to pull back even at 14:21 of the second period, when Nick Bligh took an Alex Wideman feed to the right circle and beat Houser clean to the short side.

Houser turned aside 31 shots for his 10th victory of the season, while Tomkins dropped to 3-2 on the season, stopping 33 of 36 shots.

Both teams went scoreless on a pair of power play opportunities. The Fuel's shorthanded unit has now killed off 20 consecutive penalties, a stretch that spans seven games. (Photo courtesy of Blake Sebring / Fort Wayne News-Sentinel)

Single-Game tickets are now available for the entire 2017-18 Fuel season at Indiana Farmers Coliseum! Fans can also take advantage of a wide variety of Ticket Plans by calling 317-925-FUEL or visiting IndyFuelHockey.com. Don't miss a second of the action during the 2017-18 season - follow the Fuel on Twitter and Instagram (@IndyFuel) and ‘Like' the Fuel on Facebook.

-- INDYFUELHOCKEY.COM --

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