INDIANAPOLIS - Hosting their first-ever Education Day Game Tuesday morning at their home of the Indiana Farmers Coliseum, the Indy Fuel continued their steady playoff push, overcoming a 2-0 second period deficit to defeat the divisional rivals Cincinnati Cyclones, 3-2.
After falling behind due to a pair of first period strikes stoked by the visitors, the men of the Fuel treated the morning crowd of 5,198 with 3-consecutive, unanswered goals including a pair of power play markers in the middle stanza to equalize the school day affair at 2-2. Defenseman Robin Press sizzled the first power play goal at the 6:09 mark of the stanza before Press, himself, found a breakaway bound Johnny McInnis coming out of the penalty box with a sweet, lead breakaway feed to send the game into the final frame deadlocked.
That set the stage for center Ryan Rupert's goal-scoring heroics. Indy's leading scorer jammed home a rebound of a Nolan Descoteaux shot on a scoring foray which was triggered by Alex Wideman's puck control in the Cincinnati zone. The Ryan Rupert goal came at the :55 mark of the period and it produced the Fuel's first lead of the game and a lead they did not relinquish. It is the second straight game in which Ryan Rupert has delivered the tie-breaking, game winning goal for the Fuel against the Cyclones. Back on January 26th in the “Queen City,” he fired the game winning goal at the :31 mark of overtime to sting the Cyclones, 5-4.
In Tuesday's triumph, the Fuel power play was lethal, going 2-2 as they unseated Cincinnati for the league's premiere power play with the Cyclones extra man band blanked at 0-5. The Cyclones outshot the Fuel, 40-36 with goaltender Matt Tomkins posting his 4th win in his last 5-starts, raising his overall record to 12(8-4-0).
The Fuel's victory was their 5th in as many decisions this season against the Cincinnatians with the latter 4-triumphs by identical 1-goal margins. Indy continues to thrive in the latter category, winning its last 8-straight 1-goal verdicts.
Having won 3 of their last 4-starts and opening an extended 5-games' homestand on a high note, the Fuel at 51(24-24-3) 51-points have inched within 1-point of 5th place Kansas City which is winless in its last 8-starts; 8(0-7-1) and 6-points of 4th place playoff position Kalamazoo which is winless in its last 5(0-4-1). The Fuel's 24-victories have eclipsed last season's victory output of 23.
The 5-games' homestand continues with a 3-games series in as many nights against Quad City. The Fuel will host the Mallards Thursday night at 7:05 pm as well as both Friday and Saturday nights at 7:35 pm from the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
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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