INDIANAPOLIS – There is nothing better than waking up and being able to immediately watch hockey. The Indy Fuel played their first ever Education Day game in front of 3,800 students on Tuesday morning at 10:30 am.
They hosted the struggling Cincinnati Cyclones who were coming off of a win over the Kalamazoo Wings on Sunday.
Fighting for the final remaining playoff spot in the Central Division, both teams came out on Tuesday morning looking sluggish. The game started slow and players weren’t connecting on their passes. It looked as if both teams were still asleep. Of course, had they not had to have played a game Tuesday morning, they likely would have had a light skate due to games this weekend.
If one team were better in the early morning, it was the Cincinnati Cyclones. Rob De Fulviis put home the opening goal after capitalizing on a Fuel turnover along the boards. De Fulviis and the Cyclones took advantage of the slow-starting Fuel and forced a turnover in their defensive zone and taking the 1-0 lead.
Cincinnati’s Jesse Schultz was able to break loose and get behind the Fuel defense to earn the second goal of the game and give the Cyclones a 2-0 lead heading into the locker room after the first period.
Although they started slow, that wasn’t evident in the final two periods. Coming into the second period, the Fuel were down 2-0 and 18-9 on shots. That turned quickly when Indy was given a power play just six minutes into the game. Robin Press was given an open shot on the right side and beat Kasdorf over the shoulder with a wrist shot to put Indy back in the game and get the kids screaming.
Immediately after that, the Fuel power play was back at it. Breaking out of the penalty box, Johnny McInnis got behind the Cincinnati defensemen and beat Kasdorf on his glove side.
It took less than a minute into the third period for the Fuel to take the lead and earn themselves another two points in the Central Division standings. Ryan Rupert jumped on a broken play and buried the puck in the back of the net to give the Fuel a 3-2 lead.
- For the first time in the team’s existence, they hosted an Education Day game, bringing 3,800 students and a crowd of over 5,000 to Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
- The Fuel trailed 2-0 after a very sluggish first period. Coming back from a 2-0 lead to shut the Cyclones out for the rest of the game shows the resiliency in this team. Something they will need if they are going to make any sort of push for a playoff spot.
- Matt Tomkins made 38 saves, allowing two goals in the first period. As usual, Tomkins was solid. He controlled his rebounds and stayed square to the puck when facing shots. The Fuel defense cleared pucks out of the slot, allowing Tomkins to only have to fend off one or two shots.
- With Tuesday’s win, the Fuel sit one point back of Kansas City for fifth place and six points back of Kalamazoo for the final playoff spot in the Central Division. Indy will be scoreboard watching for the rest of the season but their destiny lies in their own hands.
- Indy will play five straight games at home starting this Thursday and continuing through the weekend with a three in three against the Quad City Mallards.