KALAMAZOO, MICH. - With three games in three days against the two teams immediately in front of them in the standings, the Indy Fuel knew this weekend was a crucial one. The Fuel rose to the challenge, defeating the Kalamazoo Wings 5-2 Sunday afternoon at Wings Event Center, picking up all six possible points from the weekend road swing. Sunday's win was Indy's second in less than 24 hours over Kalamazoo, pulling the Fuel to within seven points of the Wings for possession of fourth place in the ECHL's Central Division standings.
Ryan Rupert tallied twice for Indy, which improved to 6-2 over its last eight games - both on the road and overall. Defenseman Robin Press (1g, 1a) and forward Cam Reid (2a) also chipped in multi-point efforts to help the Fuel improve to 4-2 over Kalamazoo this season.
Despite playing their fourth game in six days, Indy had plenty of energy out of the gate on Sunday. The Fuel scored three goals in the the first 8:37 of the game to take an early, commanding 3-0 lead. Rupert opened the scoring at the 3:05 mark, capping off a shorthanded odd-man rush. Reid intercepted a Wings breakout pass and attacked the zone 2-on-1, pulling the puck around a diving defender before sliding a five-foot pass to Rupert for the finish.
Tommy Olczyk doubled the Fuel lead at 7:43, pouncing on a Johnny McInnis rebound for his ninth goal of the season. Then, just 54 seconds later, Press joined Reid in transition and beat Wings netminder Joel Martin to the blocker side to make it 3-0. The defenseman from Uppsala, Sweden would later tack on an assist to complete his second consecutive two-point night.
Kalamazoo would stage a pushback in the second period, but not before Indy increased its lead to 4-0 with a goal from Josh Shalla. Shortly after a five-minute power play expired, Shalla beat Martin over the glove from the high slot for his ninth of the campaign.
The remainder of the middle frame belonged to the Wings, who notched a pair of power play goals to halve the Fuel advantage before the third period. Josh Pitt got the home team on the board at 6:34 of the second, finding a loose puck between the legs of Indy netminder Étienne Marcoux. About 10 minutes later, a point shot from defenseman Jon Jutzi found the back of the net after hitting traffic in front of the Indy net.
Indy locked things down defensively in the third period, holding Kalamazoo to only eight shots. Ryan Rupert provided the finishing touch with an empty netter at 18:34, capping off his two-goal performance.
Marcoux stopped 32 of 34 shots en route to recording his 13th win of the season, while Martin turned aside 25 Fuel offerings in the loss.
Indy completes its four-game road swing next Friday in Wheeling, before returning to Indiana Farmers Coliseum Saturday night to take on the Toledo Walleye during the club's annual Blackhawks Night.
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.
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