CINCINNATI – The Cincinnati Cyclones (35-25-3-0) went into their eleventh overtime of the season when they faced off against the Indy Fuel (31-29-3-1) on Tuesday night at US Bank Arena.
The Fuel, a team the Cyclones have notoriously had trouble with all season long, came out on fire with two goals within 60 seconds of each other in the first four minutes of the game. But in true Justin Vaive-fashion, the veteran forward was not going to go down without a fight, retaliating with two of his own before the period expired.
Despite starting off strong, Indy struggled to hold Cincy’s powerplay at bay. Both of Vaive’s first period goals were all while on the man-advantage. The first for Garrett Clarke’s holding minor, and the second while Ryan Rupert sat for slashing.
However, it was ultimately the Fuel who doused the Cyclones on the advantage, as it was while serving a bench minor during overtime that Rupert nailed in the overtime winner for Indy.
Falling in overtime 4-3, this is Cincy’s seventh loss to Indy this season. The Fuel has dominated the season series, going 7-2-0-0. The rivals will face each other one last time in the 2017-18 regular season on April 6 in Indianapolis.
A devastating finish aside, Vaive had a terrific night as he netted all three of Cincinnati’s goals for his third hat trick of the season.
Cyclones goaltender Jason Kasdorf took the loss, taking his record to 11-9-1-0 for the season.
Returning to the Fuel lineup after a stint with the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Etienne Marcoux took the victory back to Indy, improving his record to 17-11-0-1.
With the loss and a Kansas City win, the Mavericks are now five points back of the Cyclones. On the other side, the Fuel pulled into a tie in points with Kalamazoo for fifth in the Central, but Kalamazoo owns the tiebreaker between the two teams, with 30 regulation/overtime wins, compared to 28 such wins for the Fuel.
Cincinnati will host the Atlanta Gladiators for the first of a two-game series Thursday night at US Bank Arena.