INDIANAPOLIS, IN– Even though before Friday’s game, they were sitting 11 games under .500 and at one time, had a 14-game losing steak this season, the Indy Fuel have improved in the new year.
A team that played the defending champion Allen Americans tough and beat a quality team in the Tulsa Oilers last week. The true test for the Fuel would be in the first game after the All-Star break with them playing the top team in the league, the Toledo Walleye, a team Indy still has to play five times in the season’s second half.
In a very bad defensive breakdown for Indy, Toledo’s Evan Rankin would score 16 seconds into the game. A goal that would be his 100th career goal in a Toledo uniform. Even though they wouldn’t convert on their power play nor would score in the period, Indy would play Toledo tough in what would be a productive first period for them. Everything would change in the second and third periods, however.
Toledo would blow it open with Shane Berschbach blowing right up the middle taking advantage of more Indy defensive issues at 4:36 of the second period. Tylor Spink would score on a blast at 6:19 of the period that Indy’s goalie Jake Hildebrand should have had making it 3-0 Toledo. Indy’s All-Star Alex Wideman would chip into the scoring on another blast that would send goalie, Jake Paterson‘s water bottle flying making it 3-1 Toledo.
The Walleye would take it back though with J.P. LaFontaine scoring the final goal of the night scoring at 7:41 of the third period making it 4-1. A guy who’s been a positive for Toledo scoring three goals in five games after coming over from Elmira in a trade. Another impressive stat from the night was Toledo getting off 41 shots while Paterson stopped 27 in good work. Indy’s power play struggled along the way going 0/3 and was needed late in the game when they had two opportunities.
Toledo now has a four-game winning steak after Friday’s game and improves their record of 30-7-1 on the year. Toledo looks to continue their winning ways with a Sunday afternoon game in Kalamazoo. The Fuel fall to 12-24-1 with a two-game losing steak. Indy continues their home stand against the Cincinnati Cyclones on Saturday and Sunday this weekend.
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