INDIANAPOLIS – After a red light special on Friday night, the Indy Fuel hosted the Fort Wayne Komets on Saturday night for the second half of a back-to-back. Indy, looking to get back on the winning track was trying to take a second win in a row against the Komets on Saturday night while Fort Wayne was trying to get revenge for Friday’s 6-5 loss.
The Fuel came out strong in the opening period. Both teams traded chances but Indy made the best of them. The opening brace came during a broken play and Josh Shalla picked up a loose puck in front of the Komet net and beat Pat Nagle.
Since joining the Fuel, Shalla has been on fire when playing the Komets. See this tweet from Justin Cohn:
Josh Shalla has scored in all seven games against Komets since he’s been with Indy Fuel and totaled 10 goals.
— Justin A. Cohn (@SportsiCohn) March 12, 2017
The Indy power play went 2-for-7 on Friday night and continued that trend in the first period on Saturday night. A slashing penalty to Brett Perlini led to Indy getting a late power play in which Nick Bligh converted on a short side wrist shot to give the Fuel the 2-0 lead headed into the locker room.
Fort Wayne came out in the middle period looking for revenge and took advantage of more chances. Their first goal of the game came on a broken play and a Fuel defensive breakdown. Mike Cazzola was able to open in the middle of the slot and beat Eric Levine to cut the Fuel lead in half. The remainder of the second period was the two teams trading chances and Fort Wayne looking for the tying goal.
The final period was more of the same for the Indy Fuel. Fort Wayne came out after the second period looking to tie the game and to build on their momentum from the middle stanza. Throughout the entire period, the Komets put pressure on the Fuel and nearly tripled Indy’s shots in the final third.
The swarming Komets offense took until the final 34 seconds to tie the game but the extra man came in handy and Jamie Schaafsma beat Levine to send the game to overtime.
Overtime saw both teams trading chances but nothing good enough to beat either goalie. Both goaltenders made clutch saves to force a shootout.
During the shootout was where Indy just couldn’t hold on. Two solid moves from Komets players Trevor Cheek and Jamie Schaafsma and not enough from Indy’s shooters would give the Komets the 3-2 win on Saturday night.
One of the biggest problems for Indy this season has been finishing out in situations like Saturday night. Scoring goals has not been a problem but giving up too many in the final period and relying heavily on the goaltender to win the game is a difficult way to win a hockey game.
The first period of Saturday’s game was strong from the Fuel. They were getting shots, getting chances and getting rid of pucks in their defensive zone. For some reason after the middle of the second period rolls around, the team seems to forget how to play offensive hockey and rely heavily on their goaltender to weather the rest of the storm.
Indy will face the Allen Americans on Sunday afternoon in the final game of a three-in-three.