INDIANAPOLIS – For the third time in three days, the Indy Fuel took the ice to snap their losing skid. The Toledo Walleye made their first visit to the Circle City for a Sunday afternoon tilt having won three straight games while Indy had lost three straight.
For the first five minutes of the period, the Walleye held the Fuel shotless. It took a first-period power play for Indy to get their offensive game going. Before that, Indy had to weather the Toledo offensive storm. Lucky for the Fuel, goaltender Etienne Marcoux was sharp out of the gate, stopping 11 of 12 shots. Charlie O’Connor gave the Walleye the 1-0 lead when he tapped in a back-door pass from Darian Dziurzynski.
The second period was eventful. Toledo continued to control the play, causing Indy to pick up their chances on the rush. Less than five minutes into the period, the Rupert twins made their presence known on the penalty kill. Ryan Rupert picked up a loose puck before making a give-and-go pass with his twin brother Matt. Ryan beat Toledo goaltender Pat Nagle over the left shoulder to tie the game 1-1. Playing on the first line power play, the Rupert twins controlled the puck well and created several chances on the man-advantage, but Pat Nagle and the Walleye stayed solid.
Physicality increased in the second period, causing a parade of players heading to the penalty boxes and several post-whistle scrums. An Alex Wideman roughing penalty led to a scrum by the benches, leading to several penalties and Garrett Clarke earning a game misconduct. Jack Burton and Austen Brassard dropped the gloves at the end of the period, both earning five-minute majors.
The third period started exactly how the Fuel wanted it to. Obviously coming into the final period, head coach Bernie John wanted to put pressure on the Walleye and get shots from all over. The Fuel did exactly that through the first few minutes of the third. Nagle and the Walleye stayed solid and held their one-goal lead.
Toledo’s Zach Nastasiuk had the perfect response to the Fuel pressure, earning himself a breakaway and beating Marcoux with a soft wrist shot through the five-hole. Through the final period, Indy just couldn’t get much going. Shots were coming on the rush, but they couldn’t sustain pressure in the offensive zone. It would take until five minutes left in the game for Michael Neal to cut the Toledo lead down to one.
- Etienne Marcoux was fantastic. He didn’t allow rebounds, and when he did, they were controlled and sent them to a corner or got them covered quickly.
- Back from injury, Neal continues to make strides. Neal picked up his first goal of the season, depositing a shot off his ankle.
- Nick Bligh made a good replacement for Geoff Walker on the second line, playing alongside Wideman and Reid
- Indy was unable to get consistent offensive pressure going at times during the game. But when they were able to get offensive pressure the team developed Grade-A scoring chances on Pat Nagle
- The Fuel have now lost four straight. Their last win coming in Florida against the Everblades.
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