INDIANAPOLIS - A pair of third period power play goals from defensemen Travis Brown gave the Indy Fuel (28-28-2-1) all the cushion they needed to secure a critical 2-1 victory over the Kalamazoo Wings (30-25-2-2) Saturday night at Wings Event Center. The critical road win brought the Fuel to within five points of the Wings in the race for the fourth and final playoff spot in the ECHL's Central Division.
After two scoreless periods of play, Brown capitalized on a double-minor penalty to Kalamazoo's Tanner Sorenson with his first two goals in a Fuel uniform. The blueliner gave Indy a 1-0 lead at 3:47 of the final frame on a 4-on-3 advantage, hammering a one-timer from Ryan Rupert through traffic and behind Wings goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks (35 saves).
With Sorenson still in the box following Indy's ice-breaker, Brown struck again just under two minutes later to double the visitors' advantage. The AHL-contracted defenseman stepped down from the left point and ripped a wrist shot through a screen and inside the far post for his 12th goal of the campaign, with Rupert picking up his second assist on the play.
The Wings pulled back within a goal just past the midway point of the third with a power play tally of their own. Chris Collins carried the puck to the right half wall, before firing a shot through Indy netminder Matt Tomkins (22 saves) at 11:18.
Kalamazoo would get no closer, as Indy shut the door down the stretch to secure the win, improving to 7-5 against the Wings this season. Tomkins finished with the upper hand in what was a goaltenders' duel with Kivlenieks, setting a Fuel single-season franchise record with his 23rd victory of the season.
Tomkins and Kivlenieks were perfect over the first 40 minutes of regulation time, combining to stop all 35 shots they faced through the first and second periods. Kivlenieks was especially busy in the middle frame, when Indy outshot the Wings by a 15-6 margin. The Fuel finished with a 37-23 edge in the shot column.
Indy wraps up a three-game weekend Sunday afternoon on home ice as the club returns to Indiana Farmers Coliseum to take on the Toledo Walleye. Puck drop from Indianapolis is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. ET.
Single-game tickets are now on sale for the Fuel's 5th anniversary season at Indiana Farmers Coliseum! Lock up your seat for every second of the action at Indiana Farmers Coliseum with a Fuel Ticket Plan - grab yours by heading to IndyFuelHockey.com or by calling the Fuel front office at 317-925-FUEL. Don't forget to follow the Fuel on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (IndyFuel) for news, updates, contests and much more throughout the 2018-19 season.
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