ESTERO, FL – After an exciting win over the Tulsa Oilers in their home opener, the Indy Fuel hit the road for the second time this season to take on the Florida Everblades. Coming into Tuesday night, Florida was undefeated with a 4-0-0-0 record on the season.
The Fuel got the scoring started with a power-play goal around halfway through the first period. Nick Bligh beat a Florida defenseman and drove into the corner before throwing it towards the slot where Tommy Olczyk was there to one-time the puck past Martin Ouellette’s blocker to make it 1-0 Indy.
It would take until the second period for Florida to get on the board. Just a few seconds Moments after a power play ended in the second period, Everblades forward Michael Kirkpatrick buried a cross-crease, backdoor pass from Matt Berry to tie the game 1-1. Indy struggled to get much going after the Florida goal. The Everblades outshot the Fuel 36-18 over the last two periods while putting up 19 shots to the Fuel’s eight in the second stanza alone.
Florida’s Joe Cox gave the Everblades the lead when he picked up a rebound and beat Collin Delia with a point-blank wrist shot. Matt Berry would put in the empty-netter to solidify the Florida 3-1 win.
The Florida defense frustrated the Fuel for most of the evening, and Indy couldn’t play their fast pace, high shot count game. At times the game was back and forth, the way Indy likes to play. In those few times, the Fuel developed a few high percentage scoring chances but just couldn’t capitalize.
– Fuel have scored at least one power-play goal in all four games this season. Tommy Olczyk put home Tuesday’s power-play goal, his second goal of the year.
– Indy continues their 100% penalty kill rate, forcing Florida to go 0-for-3 on the power play on Tuesday. Indy is one of four teams remaining with a 100% penalty kill.
– Goaltender Matt Tomkins left the game midway through the second period with an apparent leg injury. Collin Delia made 30 saves after replacing Tomkins.
– The Walker-Wideman-Reid line managed to get several scoring chances throughout the night. That line sees each other very well on the ice. Walker and Reid fight for pucks, allowing Wideman to get open looks in the offensive zone.
– Tuesday’s game was the first of a three-game series against Florida at Germain Arena. The two teams will faceoff again on Friday and Saturday night.