KALAMAZOO, MICH. - An early three-goal advantage slipped away for the Indy Fuel (20-22-2-1), who succumbed to a third-period rally from the Kalamazoo Wings (26-17-2-2) before falling 6-4 Saturday night at Wings Event Center. The Fuel were outscored 4-0 over the final period of play, as Kalamazoo rallied to claim the first of a crucial two-game series this weekend in Southwest Michigan. The two Central Division rivals will meet again Sunday afternoon.
Indy seized control of the contest from the opening face-off, scoring three times in the opening 8:52 of the first period. Darian Dziurzynski opened the scoring at 1:54 when he redirected a Robin Press point shot behind Wings netminder Joel Martin for his 13th goal of the season. The Fuel doubled their lead at 5:15, when Matt Rupert put back a second chance opportunity after Josh Shalla's original shot rang off the post. Michael Neal capped off the offensive surge at 8:52, converting a cross-crease feed from Stephen Collins, who finished the night with two assists.
Down by three before the halfway point of the opening frame, Kalamazoo methodically began to wrestle the momentum away from the visiting team. Rookie defenseman Aaron Irving got the Wings on the board at 17:45 of the first, when his shot from the right half wall trickled through the arms of Indy netminder Étienne Marcoux.
The two teams traded quick tallies in an evenly played second period. Danny Moynihan briefly cut the Fuel lead to 3-2 with a goal at the 18:29 mark, but Tommy Olczyk chipped a loose puck over Martin's shoulders 22 seconds later to put Indy back on top by a pair.
Things began to shift toward the Wings shortly into the third period, as a Lane Scheidl redirection brought Kalamazoo back to within a goal just three minutes into the final stanza. After having a potential tying goal waved off due to a high stick, J.T. Stenglein brought Kalamazoo back to even ground at 12:29 on the power play.
Moynihan completed the Wings comeback with his second goal of the evening, coming with only 3:13 left in regulation time. The forward drove to the net, picked up his own rebound and tucked the puck behind Marcoux to give Kalamazoo its first lead of the evening. Jimmy Mullin found the empty net at 18:42 to seal the win for the Wings, who increased their lead to 13 points over the Fuel in the Central Division standings.
In net, Martin was credited with the victory with a 28-save performance, while Marcoux stopped 37 of 43 shots for Indy.
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