Fuel Season Ends with Overtime Loss in Fort Wayne
FORT WAYNE, IND. - The Indy Fuel (32-36-4-0) saw their sophomore season come to an end Saturday night with an 3-2 overtime loss to the Fort Wayne Komets (40-23-7-2) in front of 8,506 at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Komets forward Paul Crowder capped off a two-goal night with the game-winning tally just 33 seconds into the extra frame.
Indy earned three out of four points from the weekend's home-and-home series with Fort Wayne, after picking up a 5-2 victory Friday night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The Fuel's 32 wins in 2015-16 is a club record, eclipsing the mark of 31 set in their inaugural season.
The Fuel held a 2-1 lead after the second period before Crowder scored his fourth and fifth goals of the season to lead the Komets rally to their 40th win of the season. The center scored 21 seconds into the third to bring the contest to a 2-2 tie, receiving a drop pass from Jordan Southorn at the hash mark before firing the puck past Indy goaltender Terry Shafer.
With neither side finding the go-ahead goal after Fort Wayne's equalizer, the Fuel and Komets settled for overtime for the third time in five meetings in Allen County this season. Once again, it was Crowder with the quick strike, giving the hometown team the extra point before a minute had elapsed.
Entering the zone on a 2-on-1 with Southorn, Crowder looked off a pass and unleashed a shot through a Fuel defenseman that beat Shafer to the stick side. Indy finished the 11-game season series with a 4-5-2-0 record against the Hoosier State rival, including a 1-2-2-0 record at the War Memorial Coliseum.
Fort Wayne struck first 1:12 into the opening face-off when David Friedmann snuck behind the Fuel defensemen in transition. A Kyle Thomas feed beat two defenders and found Friedmann down the left wing, who beat Shafer with a move to the five-hole.
Indy only needed 1:36 to tie the game at one, as Cody Sharib capitalized on a turnover behind the Komets net while on the power play. After tracking down a Fuel dump-in, a breakout pass from Nagle hit an Indy forechecker and bounced right to Sharib, who tucked the puck into the open net. The goal was Sharib's second in as many nights and his 17th of the season, which ends up as the high mark on the Fuel roster.
While Fort Wayne generated plenty of offensive pressure in the second period, Indy grabbed the only goal courtesy of Rhett Bly. The Fuel assistant captain got just enough of a Matt White centering pass to beat Nagle at 5:05 of the period, giving Indy a 2-1 lead. Sharib picked up a secondary assist, capping off his second straight two-point night.
A week after making his professional debut in Indy's 5-2 loss in Fort Wayne, Shafer delivered a strong performance in the Fuel cage. The rookie out of Robert Morris University stopped 28 of 31 shots faced, including 11 in the second period and a plethora of saves in odd-man situations. In the other end, Nagle picked up his 28th win of the campaign with 20 saves.
Indy finished the game 1-for-3 on the power play, while keeping the Komets scoreless on three opportunities.
The win helped the Komets lock up the Western Conference's second seed in the 2016 Kelly Cup Playoffs, which begin Wednesday. Fort Wayne will meet the Cincinnati Cyclones in the first round, with Games 1 and 2 taking place April 15 and 16 in Allen County.
Season Ticket Plans for the 2016-17 Indy Fuel season are now on sale! Join the team for year three at Indiana Farmers Coliseum by visiting indyfuelhockey.com or calling 317-925-FUEL. Renew or purchase a Season Ticket Plan by May 1 and receive a free gift! Stay up to date throughout the offseason by following the Fuel on Twitter and Instagram (@IndyFuel) and don't forget to 'Like' the Fuel on Facebook.
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