INDIANAPOLIS – Coming into Friday night, Indy was looking to snap a five-game losing streak, while the Reading Royals were riding a six-game winning streak. After dropping Wednesday morning’s game against the Brampton Beast, Indy looked to turn their fortunes around but the two team’s first meeting of the season wasn’t exactly how Indy wanted it to go.
The first period began as planned for Indy but didn’t necessarily end that way. The Fuel pressure was strong and shots were coming from all over to start the period. Alex Wideman put Indy on the board early in the game by putting a bouncing puck past Reading goaltender, Mark Dekanich.
Reading quickly responded with a goal of their own on their first power play of the game when Ryan Penny had an easy rebound tap-in. Indy’s response and second lead of the game came fairly quickly off of an offensive zone faceoff. Nick Mattson scored his first goal of the game with a shot from the boards.
Again, one team had had a response for the other. Reading responded to Mattson’s goal with three straight goals. Indy’s start was strong but Reading’s three straight goals stunned Eric Levine and the Fuel defense.
The second period was a better one for Indy but they couldn’t buy a goal against Mark Dekanich. The Fuel put up nearly 20 shots in the second period alone and Kevin Lynch had at least four chances of his own but was denied. The entire period was back and forth, both teams getting good chances throughout the period. The Royals added to their lead with a buzzer beater shot from Matt Willows.
Indy’s third period was a rough one. It took just past halfway through the period for the Royals to open the scoring but once the scoring started, it didn’t stop. Indy killed off an early 5-on-3 but after that, Reading decided it was time to take control and dismantle the Fuel. Reading outshot the Fuel 14-4 in the final period, leading to Three straight goals and an 8-2 win for the Royals.
With that loss, Indy’s losing streak goes to six games. In those six games, Indy has been outscored 30-11. The Fuel penalty kill continues to be strong, killing off four-of-five Reading power plays and one 5-on-3. The power play unit only had one chance on the night but was unable to capitalize on that chance.
There was a point in Friday’s game where Indy was leading. This was the second game in a row where Indy led to start the game. Alex Wideman opened the scoring and is now riding a three-game point streak. Defenseman Nick Mattson picked up his first goal of the season to give the Fuel the lead early in the first but that would be the only pucks getting past Royals goaltender Mark Dekanich.
If Indy wants to have any chance at making the playoffs, the team needs to wake up. Giving up 30 goals in six games is unacceptable at this level. That’s an average of five goals per game. Defense needs to be figured out if Indy wants to start winning games. Reading and Indy are back at it on Saturday night, Indy will be looking to snap their losing skid.