FORT WAYNE, IN - The Indy Fuel (34-32-2-2) defeated the Fort Wayne Komets (33-26-4-6) 5-3 in a critical game to pick up two points and avoid elimination in the tight knit playoff hunt this Wednesday night at the Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne.
The Fuel found themselves in a dangerous spot early on in the first period as Fort Wayne opened up the scoring less than five minutes into the game. A scramble behind the net allowed Anthony Nellis to wrap the puck around Fuel goaltender Matt Tomkins to Jamie Schaafsma who lifted the puck to the top corner of the net to get the first score of the game.
The Komets did not let up as Matt Baptista and Sean Sydlowski also notch goals within three minutes of each other at 6:32 and 8:41 respectively.
The Fuel retaliated halfway through the third as Josh McArdle launched a slapshot from the blue line that Forward Woody Nelson was able to deflect into the net past Komets goalie Zach Fucale to get Indy on the board at 9:13 in the first.
Indy gained some life towards the end of the first period as they found themselves on a 5-on-3 man advantage for the first power play opportunity of the night. With five seconds left to go Travis Brown fired a shot from between the two circles to cut the Komets lead to one going into the second.
Special teams proved crucial again as the Fuel converted on the man advantage from the previous period early on in the second. Josh Shalla grabbed a rebound from a blocked shot on the right circle and crossed it to Logan Nelson who was waiting at the left circle to bury it in the right corner of the net to tie up at 00:59.
It all came down to the third period where Mat Thompson snagged the puck in front of the Komets bench during a line change and was able to drive up the right boards before diverting it to Matt Rupert who tipped it front of the net to give Indy the lead of 4-3 with 5:22 left to go.
Komets pulled Fucale with two minutes left to go for the extra attacker and in commotion in front of the Fuel net forward Ryan Rupert flicked the puck away from the Indy zone and it bounced off the boards into Fort Wayne's goal for an empty netter to bring the final score to 5-3.
The Fuel went 2-for-3 on the man advantage for two game changing goals, while stopping two out of two of Fort Wayne's power play chances. Tomkins stopped 34 saves on 37 shots while Fucale had 24 saves on 28 shots.
The Fuel continue the hunt for a playoff spot at home this Friday for the last regulation game of the season at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum at 7:35 p.m.
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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