Fuel Edged in 2018-19 Season Opener
INDIANAPOLIS - The Indy Fuel (1-0-0-0) found themselves on the wrong side of a wild affair Friday night in a 3-1 Opening Night loss to the Fort Wayne Komets at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. A second period goal from Taylor Crunk broke a 1-1 deadlock in favor of Fort Wayne, as the Fuel were held without a point in their first game of the season for just the second time in franchise history. Indy will have a chance to rebound on Saturday as they wrap up their Opening Weekend doubleheader at Indiana Farmers Coliseum against the Kalamazoo Wings.
Crunk's go-ahead goal came in the late stages of a tightly-contested middle frame. Komets goaltender Lukas Hafner stopped Fuel forward Olivier Labelle on a Fuel on-man rush, springing Fort Wayne in the other direction with speed. Marc-Olivier Roy found Crunk off of the right post, who threaded a shot past a sprawling Matt Tomkins to give the Komets a 2-1 lead with 1:48 left in the second.
Indy had several prime opportunities to even the score in the third frame, but Hafner was stellar in his Fort Wayne debut. The Komets put the game out of reach with an empty net goal from Roy with 1:03 left in regulation time. Hafner, a two-time Kelly Cup Champion with the Colorado Eagles recorded the win, stopping 28 of 29 Fuel shots. Tomkins was saddled with the loss for the Fuel, despite a strong 28-save performance.
Both teams found the net once in a hectic first period, which featured 14 penalties and five power plays for each team. Justin Hodgman put the Komets on the board at 5:05 with the extra man, finishing off a rebound left by a Garrett Ladd offering. The game quickly began to take a physical tone, coming to a boil when Fuel forward Anthony Collins and Crunk tussled late in the opening stanza, bringing the crowd of 4,856 to a frenzy.
An energized Indy club found the equalizer in the final minute of the period, when Quentin Shore scored his first goal in a Fuel uniform. Attacking the Komets zone in transition, Josh Shalla left a drop pass for defenseman Robert Powers, who fired a shot on net from the top of the left circle. Shore got enough of a redirection to beat Hafner, sending the contest into the first intermission at a 1-1 tie.
The Fuel - who finished with the best power play unit a year ago - found themselves scoreless on eight power play chances, though they had plenty of quality looks on Hafner with the extra man. Fort Wayne finished 1-for-9 on the power play.
Single-game tickets are now on sale for the Fuel's 5th anniversary season at Indiana Farmers Coliseum! Be there as drops the puck during Opening Weekend on October 12-13! Lock up your seat for every second of the action at Indiana Farmers Coliseum with a Fuel Ticket Plan - grab yours by heading to IndyFuelHockey.com or by calling the Fuel front office at 317-925-FUEL. Don't forget to follow the Fuel on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (IndyFuel) for news, updates, contests and much more throughout the 2018-19 season.
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