INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Indy Fuel hosted the Fort Wayne Komets on Friday night in the sixth of nine meetings between the I-69 rivals. Coming into the night, the Komets led the series 5-0. Friday’s matchup seemed to be more of the same between the two teams.
Although outshot 20-4 in the first period, one of the four shots from Indy got the scoring started on Friday night. A bouncing puck in front of Garrett Bartus came to Josh Shalla, who put the puck past Bartus. The rest of the first period saw the Fuel defending their own goal and only putting up four shots.
Jason Binkley opened the scoring for the Komets and about two minutes later Trevor Cheek gave the Komets a one-goal lead. The Komets’ 20 shots in the first period kept the Fuel hemmed up in their own zone for the majority of the first period.
The second period was all Fort Wayne. It took until halfway through the period for the Komets to begin adding to their lead. Garrett Thompson gave the Komets a 3-1 lead halfway through the period, picking up his 15th goal of the season in the process.
Gabriel Desjardins tripled the Komets lead by putting a wrist shot past Jake Hildebrand on an odd-man rush. Hildebrand played the shot correctly but the puck trickled through the arm of the goaltender. After the goal by Desjardins, the desperation from the Fuel became evident. Shots were coming from all over but Garrett Bartus fought off the Fuel flurries.
The third period was just a repeat of the first period. The Komets controlled the majority of and the Fuel only able to put up four shots. About nine minutes into the period, a loose puck came to Colin Mulvey and he put the puck past Hildebrand to give Fort Wayne a 5-1 lead. Indy couldn’t get anything going and couldn’t seem to find each other with passes in the final period.
Special teams were not a strong suit for Indy on Friday. Fort Wayne blanked the Fuel’s power play on three chances while Indy’s power play continues to struggle. The power play sits at 14.1% and 23rd in the league. The one penalty kill that the Fuel had was scored on by Trevor Cheek.
Jake Hildebrand continues to get pummeled with shots. With the defensive issues that have plagued the Fuel, Hildebrand stops nearly 35 shots per game, tonight he stopped 40.
This weekend is a weekend of specialty jerseys for Indy. The Fuel wore jerseys designed by the relative of a Community Health Network cancer patient on Friday to benefit cancer patients. Saturday night, the Fuel will face the Cincinnati Cyclones on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Night and wear Shredder theme jerseys