INDIANAPOLIS – It was Christmas night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum and Santa Claus brought goals for both teams on Saturday night. The Fuel hosted the Cincinnati Cyclones for the first of ten games this season. The matchup would not disappoint for the fans who were out to see the Fuel for the last time before Christmas.

The Fuel were able to execute the same game plan they’ve had all season in the first period last night. Get the first goal, get them on their heels, and get pressure on the puck carrier.

Alex Wideman and Anthony Cortese linked together for a beautiful passing sequence to lead to the opening goal. That goal would be Cortese’s first professional goal, the best Christmas gift of all. The one goal lead didn’t last long when Cincinnati’s Arvin Atwal beat Matt Tomkins with a short side backhand shot. The remainder of the period went back and forth, both teams picking up chances. Newly acquired forward Darian Dziurzynski gave the Fuel the lead with 18 seconds left in the first by beating Jason Kasdorf with a wrap-around.

The second period was excellent for the Fuel. Players were putting pressure on the Cyclones and forcing them to make mistakes. Those mistakes led to goals for the Fuel on Saturday night.

Johnny McInnis scored the first of three goals in the second period, scoring off of a broken faceoff play. Tommy Olczyk, scored his first of three shorthanded goals, putting home a centering pass from Michael Neal.

Troy Vance gave the Fuel a 5-2 lead with a wrist shot from the point. The Cyclones would tally two goals in the second but the three Fuel goals would give them a 5-3 lead heading into the final stanza.

The third period didn’t start the way the Fuel wanted but it ended in their favor. Shawn O’Donnell beat Tomkins with a wraparound early in the third period but that would be all Cincinnati would get for the rest of the game.

Tommy Olczyk was given an early Christmas present, scoring a beautiful shorthanded snipe over the shoulder of Anthony Peters, who replaced Kasdorf in the second period. Olczyk would score the empty netter for a shorthanded hat-hat trick, an ECHL record held by Shawn Szydlowski (2015), Chad Costello (2012) & Jamey Hicks (1998).

Things started to get chippy through the third period and finally boiled over with about six minutes to go. Peters was frustrated during a scrum and decided to skate to other side of the ice to fight Matt Tomkins.

Overall, it was a strong game for the Fuel heading into the Christmas break. With three straight losses, Indy was looking for a something positive heading into the break. A 7-4 win, a goalie fight and a shorthanded hat-trick was certainly a nice Christmas present for the Fuel.

Takeaways

  • The Fuel penalty kill was 6-for-6 in Saturday’s game. Along with being perfect on the night, they scored three goals while on the kill, a Fuel team record.
  • Matt Tomkins dropped the gloves with Anthony Peters but that wasn’t the only goalie fight in the ECHL on Saturday. Former Fuel goaltender Jake Hildebrand dropped the gloves with Allen’s Stephon Williams.
  • Dziurzynski didn’t take long to make his presence known after arriving two days before. He scored his first goal in a Fuel uniform, picking up a loose puck behind the net and beating Kasdorf.
  • Saturday’s game was the first of ten games between Indy and Cincinnati. The Indy win gives them two points in the Central Division standings. The Fuel sit in 6th in the Division with 21 points. The Kalamazoo Wings have the 5th spot with 29 points. Both Indy and Cincinnati will face each other again on December 30th at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.

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