Fuel Erase Early Deficit, Earn Point in Shootout Loss to Cyclones
INDIANAPOLIS - The Indy Fuel (20-17-2-1) rallied from an early deficit to force overtime, but the Cincinnati Cyclones (26-7-3-3) escaped with a 4-3 shootout win Saturday night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Forward Mike Marnell scored the lone goal in the breakaway competition for the Western Conference-leading Cyclones, who picked up the extra point in the first of back-to-back games between the Central Division rivals. The two clubs will finish a home-and-home doubleheader Sunday afternoon at U.S. Bank Arena.
The forward trio of Matt Rupert, Ryan Rupert and Logan Nelson each tallied a goal and an assist for the Fuel, who climbed out of a 3-1 first-period hole with two unanswered goals over the final 40 minutes of regulation. Indy has now played beyond the 60-minute mark in three straight games, and four times over its last five outings.
Cincinnati opened the scoring at 4:04 of the opening frame, as Alex Wideman threaded a shot from the high slot through a maze of bodies and behind Fuel goaltender Matt Tomkins (31 saves). Just 34 seconds later, Indy responded with a power play goal from Matt Rupert to even the score at one. Ryan Rupert took a pass from Alex Brooks before finding his twin brother for a net-front deflection in the slot - Matt's 17th goal of the season.
The Cyclones quickly regained control, scoring a pair of goals to head into the first intermission with a 3-1 lead. Justin Vaive put Cincinnati back on top at 6:00, lifting a loose puck over Tomkins' shoulder from just outside the crease. The visitors doubled their lead at 12:19, when Spencer Dorowicz steered a centering from Arvin Atwal inside the left post.
The Fuel used another power play goal to pull back within one midway through the second period. Nelson extended a goal-scoring streak to four games when a slap shot from Mathew Thompson caromed off his hip and behind Cincinnati netminder Michael Houser (30 saves).
The Rupert, Rupert, Nelson line connected again early in the third period to bring the game to a 3-3 tie. Nelson found Matt Rupert in the neutral zone with a breakout pass, who slid a cross-ice feed to Ryan just inside the attacking blue line. Ryan was tripped up as he drove to the net, and the puck slid across the goal line for his 11th goal of the season. The three forwards have now combined to score each of Indy's last six goals, tallying a total of 12 points over two games this weekend.
Cincinnati had a series of chances to retake the lead in the third period, but Tomkins kept the game at a 3-3 stalemate with several key stops, including a breakaway glove save on Myles Powell with under five minutes to play. After surrendering goals on three of his first five shots, the Fuel goaltender turned aside all 24 Cyclones attempts over the second and third periods, making three additional saves in overtime.
Indy finished 2-for-4 on the power play, while holding Cincinnati scoreless on four opportunities.
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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