Fuel Earn Point in 4-3 Overtime Decision against Toledo
INDIANAPOLIS - The Indy Fuel struck for three first goals in a lightning-like sequence of 2:48 to soar into a 3-0 lead only to have the league-leading Toledo Walleye rally to garner the bonus point in a 4-3 OT outcome Saturday night at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
Celebrating the St. Patrick's Day holiday by playing on Green Ice, the Fuel fused a three-goals opening period powder keg in 2:48 as Josh Shalla fired his second goal in as many nights and his 17th of the season to launch his club into a 1-0 advantage. A mere :26 later at the 9:00 mark, the Rupert twins collaborated their offensive exploits to the tune of a pair of strikes stoked 2:22 apart with Ryan Rupert caging both strikes and Matt Rupert earning the primary assist on both goals. Ryan Rupert scored his 24th goal at the 9:00 mark followed by an encore at 11:22.
The visitors from Toledo began their gradual comeback at the 5:28 mark of the second stanza when former Fuel right wing Tyler Barnes cashed in a power play goal moments after Indy had failed to capitalize on a two-man advantage which it held for 1:42.
Entering the third period with a 3-1 lead, the Fuel surrendered an early Walleye goal at the :20 mark when Mike Embach re-directed a point shot behind goaltender Matt Tomkins before Kyle Bonis connected late in the same stanza to tie it at 3-3 with only 1:19 remaining in regulation time. Although both teams were playing one man short at the time, Toledo had lifted goaltender Pat Nagle for the fifth attacker to forge the deadlock.
The Toledoans completed the comeback in the opening moments of overtime when Bonis, again, struck. This time on a rebound of a Barnes point blank bid at the :16 mark to secure the extra point in the standings.
The Walleye outshot the Fuel, 41-31 and 16-7 in the third period. Nagle posted his league-high 32nd victory of the season, extending his undefeated streak to 15(14-0-1) while going 6(6-0-0) against Indy this season. Tomkins, for the season, now has a record of 11-9-1.
The extra time affair was the first on the Fuel's home ice since way back on their home opening night, October 21st when they prevailed over Tulsa in the OTSO, 3-2. Indy is now 8(1-6-1) against Toledo thus far this season and 25(3-21-1) all-time against the Walleye.
With the one precious point earned, the Fuel have climbed into a share of fifth place in the Western Conference Central Division with Kansas City with both the Fuel and the Mavs two points back of Kalamazoo for the fourth and final playoff berth. Indy is now 5(2-3) in OT this season and 1(0-1) at home.
With three weeks and nine games remaining in their schedule, the Fuel will travel to Cincinnati for a duel with the Cyclones on Tuesday night before returning home next Friday night, March 23rd when they rekindle rancor with the second place Fort Wayne Komets in a 7:35 pm face-off at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
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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