INDIANAPOLIS - The Indy Fuel sustained their fourth consecutive setback and their third in a row on home ice this week on Sunday afternoon as the visiting Utah Grizzlies completed the sweep of the two-games in two days series at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum with a 4-1 victory verdict.
Trailing 1-0 early in the second period after Utah's Sam Babintsev notched his first goal for the Grizzlies late in the first period at 18:32, the Fuel responded with the equalizer at the 5:52 mark when Alex Wideman fired his 13th goal of the campaign and his 5th on the power play with Ryan Rupert and Jaynen Rissling registering the assists.
However, the 1-1 tie did not last long as :48 later, from a face-off in Fuel territory, Mike Pelech captured the draw and set-up Brad Navin with the tie-breaking and ultimate game winning goal at 6:40. Gaining their second lead of the game, the Grizzlies did not relinquish this one despite Indy's strong second period offensive assault as Joel Rumpel slammed the door on the hometown team in their bid to forge a second tie and generate a comeback counterattack.
As they did last night in their game one 5-2 triumph, the Grizzlies sealed the contest with a pair of unanswered third period strikes with Taylor Richart and Mitch Maxwell inflicting the lethal damage.
The Fuel outshot Utah, 35-29, and by a healthy margin of 14-7 in that third stanza. Making his fourth straight start in 6-days this week, goaltender Matt Tomkins was saddled with the loss. The Fuel power play was 1-8 and 1-11 in the series while Utah's power play on Sunday was 0-2 and 1-5 in the two-games' set.
The Grizzlies penalty-killing effort was exceptional; especially considering that the Fuel were presented three consecutive man advantages in the opening period including, as well, a two-man advantage for :50. Also, in the third frame, Indy was the recipient of four more power plays including another two-man advantage; this one was for 1:30. Each time, Utah was able to subdue the league's top-ranked power play.
Despite the defeat, the sixth place Fuel remain only 3-points back of fifth place Kansas City; 4-points behind Kalamazoo for that coveted fourth and final playoff berth.
With 14-games remaining on the regular season schedule, the Fuel are still in the position to take control of their fate and destiny as 13 of those 14-outings will be within their own Central Division.
Next up for the Indy club will be three-games in three days next weekend. The Fuel will cap their extended three-games' homestand on Friday night, March 9th at 7:35 pm when they rekindle rancor against Cincinnati on NICKELODEON NIGHT at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
Then on Saturday and Sunday, it's back on the road, again, as the Fuel travel to Kalamazoo for a 7:00 pm Saturday night battle against the Wings in a showdown duel for the playoffs. Sunday, it's a trip to Toledo for a 5:15 pm clash against the first place Walleye.
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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