Fuel Bounced in Cincinnati
CINCINNATI - The Indy Fuel (30-29-2-1) came up empty Friday night in a 6-1 defeat at the hands of the Cincinnati Cyclones (35-23-2-0) at U.S. Bank Arena. Five unanswered goals helped the Cyclones build an unsurmountable lead, as the Fuel dropped to 6-2 on the season against Cincinnati.
With the loss, Indy remains just one point back of the Kalamazoo Wings and the Kansas City Mavericks for possession of fourth place and playoff positioning in the Central Division. Kalamazoo was idle Friday night, while Kansas City dropped the first of a two-game set with the Tulsa Oilers.
The Cyclones grabbed the lead just 2:22 into the first period, when forward Justin Vaive steered a centering pass from Justin Schultz behind Fuel goaltender Matt Tomkins. Daniel Muzito-Bagenda tallied the first of his two power play goals of the evening to double Cincinnati's lead in the late stages of the opening frame.
Looking to pull back to within one midway through the second period, Indy found themselves on the short side of a two-goal swing that gave the Cyclones a stranglehold of the contest. While on the power play, Fuel defenseman Robin Press triggered the red light behind Cincinnati netminder Jason Kasdorf - though play continued after the officials signaled no-goal. Moments later, Shawn O'Donnell found the net for the Cyclones, turning a potential 2-1 game into a 3-0 Cincinnati advantage. Muzito-Bagenda and O'Donnell each tacked on another goal before the end of the second, sending the Cyclones into the third period with a commanding 5-0 edge.
Josh Shalla broke Kasdorf's shutout bid just over the halfway point of the third period with his 16th goal of the season, but Alex Kile restored Cincinnati's five-goal cushion with under three minutes to play in regulation.
The Fuel finished with a 41-38 edge in the shot column, forcing Kasdorf to make 40 saves in order to record his 11th victory of the season. Tomkins was saddled with the loss, stopping 23 of 28 through two periods of action. After signing an ATO earlier Friday, rookie goaltender Edwin Minney made nine saves in the third period in what was his professional debut.
Indy was held scoreless on three power play opportunities, while the Cyclones scored twice on five chances with the man advantage.
The Fuel close out their weekend slate Saturday as they take on the Toledo Walleye at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Puck drop is slated for 7:35 p.m. on St. Patrick's Day in Indianapolis.
Single game tickets are now available for the entire 2017-18 Fuel season at Indiana Farmers Coliseum! Fans can also take advantage of a wide variety of ticket plans by calling 317-925-FUEL or visiting IndyFuelHockey.com. Don't miss a second of the action during the 2017-18 season - follow the Fuel on Twitter and Instagram (@IndyFuel) and 'Like' the Fuel on Facebook.
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