INDIANAPOLIS – The third game in three days was not friendly to the Indy Fuel this weekend. The Fuel began the weekend with a 3-0 shutout over the Rapid City Rush. The Quad City Mallards came into Indy this weekend for a pair of back-to-back games.
The Fuel began the first period with a vengeance after giving up seven goals on Saturday night. The 14 shots put up by the Fuel were blanked by Quad City goaltender, CJ Motte. Along with the first-period shutout, Quad City managed to put two goals past Eric Levine, who replaced Jake Hildebrand on Saturday night.
A blast from Chris Francis found it’s way through traffic to beat Levine just over halfway through the period, giving the Mallards a boost of adrenaline which led to the second goal from Michael Parks.
Indy came out in the second period with a strong start. Newly acquired forward Cason Hohmann opened the scoring with a breakaway goal. The Fuel appeared to tie the game during a scrum but a quick whistle by the ref caused the goal to be called off. In similar fashion, Quad City doubled their lead later on after a loose puck found Jack Nevins.
The Mallards took a three-goal lead early in the final stanza with a goal from Pavel Jenys. The physicality increased significantly in the third period, mainly from the Fuel. The attempt to increase the physicality led to a fight between Chris Williams and Nevins. The fight was heavily tilted towards Nevins, giving the Mallards another momentum swing and a fifth goal as well.
Turnovers were a major problem for the Fuel on Sunday afternoon, a trend that has continued throughout the weekend and season. Hildebrand had a very strong game on Friday night, setting the club-record for shutouts with four. Saturday, he was hung out to dry a bit by his defense and was replaced by Levine. Levine seemed to struggle with his rebounds on Sunday, letting in five goals.
Although Indy only had four power plays throughout the weekend, they were unable to score throughout the whole weekend. On a lighter note, Indy had to kill off six penalties this weekend and were able to kill off all six. So although the power play continues to struggle, the Fuel have the best penalty kill in the Central Division.
Indy will have the week off before they head to Cincinnati for a game on Friday night and then host Fort Wayne on Saturday night.