Fuel Snap Losing Skid with Shutout Victory in Wichita
WICHITA, KANSAS - A natural hat trick for Quentin Shore and a 31-save shutout from Gordon Defiel led the way as the Indy Fuel (24-24-2-1) got back in the win column Saturday with a decisive 5-0 triumph over the Wichita Thunder at INTRUST Bank Arena. The victory snapped a season-long five-game losing streak for Indy, which picked up its first regulation win since downing the Kalamazoo Wings 4-2 on Jan. 26.
After finding themselves on the wrong end of a 5-0 final score Wednesday in Cincinnati, the Fuel delivered a complete 60-minute effort to reverse their fortunes Saturday. Ryan Rupert notched a goal in both the first and third periods, while Shore struck three times in the middle frame to record his second career professional hat trick.
In the first of four consecutive games coming against the Thunder over the next eight days, the Fuel jumped out to an early lead with Rupert's first goal of the evening at 2:54. The forward battled for position in front of the net, before redirecting a centering pass from Alex Brooks behind Wichita netminder Ty Rimmer (30 saves).
Carrying the 1-0 lead into the first intermission, Indy took complete control of the game in the second period, courtesy of Shore's trio of tallies. Shore's first came just 1:27 into the middle frame, when he took a drop pass from Zach Miskovic and ripped a wrist shot over Rimmer's glove from the slot. The third-year forward made it 3-0 at 14:38 with an unassisted marker, picking off a Thunder pass in the neutral zone before beating Rimmer glove side from nearly the same location.
Shore completed the hat trick at 17:33 of the second, converting a gorgeous feed from forward Woody Hudson to cap off a 2-on-1 rush. Hudson's helper comes in his first game back with the Fuel since being traded from the Worcester Railers on Wednesday.
Indy tacked on a power play goal halfway through the third period to round out the night's scoring. After gaining possession to begin the man advantage, a Logan Nelson point blast caromed off the near goal post right to Rupert, who had an open net for his 16th goal of the season.
Defiel stopped 14 shots in the first period and 17 the rest of the way to register his first ECHL shutout and his first victory in a Fuel uniform. The rookie from Stillwater, Minn. now has gone a total of 102:48 without surrendering a goal, a streak spanning his relief appearance in Wednesday's loss to Cincinnati and the third period of a 5-4 loss in Toledo last weekend.
Indy finished 1-for-3 on the power play, while holding the Thunder scoreless on three opportunities with the extra skater.
With the win, the Fuel pull back within one point of the fifth-place Wheeling Nailers in the Central Division standings, and two points of the Fort Wayne Komets for possession of the fourth and final playoff spot in the division.
Indy and Wichita will meet again Sunday afternoon from INTRUST Bank Arena, before shifting to Indianapolis for the Fuel's annual Education Day Game at Indiana Farmers Coliseum Tuesday morning.
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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ECHL Stories from February 16, 2019
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