INDIANAPOLIS, IN – In their third game in three days, the Indy Fuel and Atlanta Gladiators concluded the second half of their back-to-back series. Indy came into Sunday afternoon on a four-game win streak, the fourth being a 4-3 win over Atlanta.
Prior to Sunday’s matinee, Indy received former ECHL Rookie of the Year, Tyler Barnes from their AHL affiliate in the Rockford IceHogs. Barnes recorded 61 points (24 goals, 37 assists) in 69 games with the Missouri Mavericks last season.
Barnes made his presence known early in the game recording his first goal in a Fuel uniform on his first shift of the game. The newly acquired forward put home a trickling puck to give the Fuel a 1-0 lead. Atlanta would respond with three goals of their own in the first period, two of them coming from Derek Nesbitt, who lead the Gladiators in shots with eight.
The second period was the most exciting period for Fuel fans as they put up three goals to Atlanta’s one. Indy’s Alex Wideman picked up a soft pass from Nick Mattson and put his shot over the left shoulder of goaltender, Matt Ginn. Atlanta responded quickly with a goal two minutes later and held the lead until under four minutes left in the period.
Jonathan Carlsson started the comeback with a blast from the point that beat Ginn over the shoulder. One minute later Barnes fed Matt Rupert a cross-crease pass to tie the game at four going into the final period.
The final period was just like the first two, except Atlanta got the scoring started. Six minutes into the third, Shane Bakker scored the first goal of the period, giving the Gladiators the lead. Wideman responded 15 seconds later with a wrist shot from the slot. It would take until around four minutes remaining in the period for the Fuel game-winning goal to come off the stick of Kevin Lynch. Lynch picked up a loose puck along the boards and put a wrist shot over the left shoulder of Ginn.
Indy’s win is their fifth in a row and third straight at home. Barnes broke a Fuel franchise record for most points in one game with five (one goal, four assists). Goaltender, Eric Levine picked up his first win of the season, stopping 35 of 40 shots on Sunday afternoon.
The Fuel will host the Kalamazoo Wings on Wednesday night and then head to Moline, Illinois to face the Quad City Mallards before hosting the Missouri Mavericks for a back-to-back series at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.