INDIANAPOLIS – The Indy Fuel were back home again in Indiana after dropping two games in a row to the Tulsa Oilers and Missouri Mavericks last weekend. Indy got a chance on Friday night to redeem themselves against Tulsa but a rough first two periods made it very difficult for Indy to pick up a win on home ice. The Oilers improved to 6-0 on the season after handing Indy their third straight loss on Friday night.
The first period wasn’t a great one for the Fuel. Tulsa got the scoring started early, 41 seconds in to be exact. Christophe Lalancette put a beautiful shot over the left shoulder of goaltender Jake Hildebrand.
Turnovers were a problem in the first, Indy couldn’t seem to connect multiple passes together and Tulsa’s speed was very evident. Indy earned a power play with about eight minutes to go in the first. They had a few good chances during the power-play and that led to a Fuel rush but they were unable to put a puck past Tulsa goaltender Jamie Phillips.
The second period wasn’t exactly friendly for the Fuel as Tulsa padded their lead with two more goals. Danick Paquette doubled the Tulsa lead after undressing a Fuel defenseman and putting a beautiful backhand shot over the glove of Hildebrand. After a controversial no-call when Alex Wideman was high-sticked at the red line, drawing blood, Phil Brewer put the Oilers up by three on a breakaway. Although they were able to mount some pressure on the Oilers, Indy’s woes continued. Phillips made several strong saves on Indy shots, at one point stopping back-to-back point blank shots from Matt Rupert and Anthony Beauregard.
It seemed that Indy was a totally different team in the final period. The line of Wideman, Beauregard and Rupert was very strong tonight. Forechecked hard, put pucks on net and created plays all night. The Fuel outshot the Oilers 14-9 in the final period and that was evident as Indy put up two goals to Tulsa’s zero.
Marek Tvrdon picked up the first goal of the game for the Fuel after he picked up his own blocked shot and buried it from the slot. Nearly three minutes later Patrick D’Amico put home a pass from Martin Belluš to cut the Tulsa lead to one. A tough break for the Fuel came when Martin Belluš broke his stick and a pass hits him as he skated off the ice, causing a too-many-men call on the Fuel. Indy spent the final two minutes of the game killing off a penalty and were unable to put in the final tally.
Indy’s first two periods were poor. Turnovers were all over and Tulsa’s speed was very evident. Indy had few tough breaks in terms of penalties and missed calls but that is no excuse. The third period was the best period of the night by far for the Fuel, they will need the same effort for all three periods on Saturday night when they host the two-time defending Kelly Cup Champion Allen Americans.
Jake Hildebrand stopped 29 Oilers shots while Phillips stopped 34, many of them low percentage shots. Indy’s power-play was 1-for-2 on the night while Tulsa’s was 0-for-1. Each team could have easily had multiple penalties called but were let go.
Looking to snap their three-game skid, Indy will face the Allen Americans on Saturday night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Next weekend they will head north to face the Fort Wayne Komets on November 4th and host Quad City on the 5th at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.