Fuel Eliminated from Playoff Contention After Shootout Loss to Komets
INDIANAPOLIS - The Indy Fuel (34-32-2-3) were officially eliminated from postseason contention Friday night as they dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to the Fort Wayne Komets before a crowd of 5,401 at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The Fuel finish the 2018-19 season with a record of 22-11-1-2 on home ice, with the 22 wins setting a new single-season franchise record. Indy wraps up their regular schedule Saturday night at WesBanco Arena against the Wheeling Nailers.
The Komets entered Friday needing just one point to lock up their position in the 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs, and received it as regulation ended in a 2-2 tie. Indy goaltender Matt Tomkins recorded a season-high 44 saves, including seven in 3-on-3 overtime, before Fort Wayne grabbed a second point by winning the shootout 2-0.
With the score tied at two at the start of the third period, Indy threw everything it had down the stretch at the Komets net and goaltender Zachary Fucale (31 saves). Knowing that a regulation victory was necessary to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Fuel pulled Tomkins for the extra attacker for the final 90 seconds of the period - but Fort Wayne held firm to keep Indy at bay.
Josh Shalla marked a pair of assists for the Fuel, while Brett Welychka and Woody Hudson found the back of the net. Brady Shaw and Shawn Szydlowski each tallied a goal and an assist for the visiting Komets, who jumped into third place in the Central Division with the victory.
Shaw opened the scoring just 1:44 into the game, taking a feed from Szydlowski before beating Tomkins on a wrap-around. Indy tied the game at one at 14:35 of the opening frame, with Brett Welychka capitalizing on the home team's first power play chance of the night. Shalla slid a pass to Zach Miskovic on the blue line, whose point shot was redirected by Welychka in the slot.
The two teams remained at a 1-1 tie until deep into the second period, when a strong forecheck effort from the Fuel led to a goal from Woody Hudson. With the Komets hemmed in their defensive end, Hudson collected a Logan Nelson rebound off of the end glass and tossed his eighth goal of the season behind a sprawling Fucale.
Soon after the go-ahead goal, back-to-back penalties from Olivier Labelle and Ryan Rupert gave Fort Wayne a lengthy 5-on-3 power play. Szydlowski made no mistake on the two-man advantage, ripping a one-timer behind Tomkins from the left circle to tie the game at two at 17:40 of the second.
Indy finished the game 1-for-3 on the power play, while the Komets were 1-for-4.
Single-game tickets are now on sale for the Fuel's 5th anniversary season at Indiana Farmers Coliseum! 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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