Second Period Surge Lifts Fuel over Mallards
MOLINE, ILL. - Three quick strikes in the second period gave the Indy Fuel (14-17-2-1) just enough cushion to secure a 4-3 victory over the Quad City Mallards (9-22-2-1) Saturday night at TaxSlayer Center. The win gave Indy a split of the two-game set in Illinois, sending the club into the ECHL All-Star break with six wins out of its last nine games (6-3-0-0).
Three Fuel goals scored in a 3:04 span halfway through the middle frame broke open a 1-1 stalemate, while a masterful performance from Indy's penalty kill unit helped withstand a third-period rally from the Mallards. The Fuel shorthanded contingent kept Quad City scoreless in six opportunities, which included a pair of power play chances in the third period.
The Central Division rivals traded goals in a fast-paced first period, in which Indy enjoyed a 15-7 edge in the shot column. Despite the lopsided margin in scoring chances, it was Quad City that grabbed an early 1-0 lead courtesy of Sam Warning. After leading the Mallards with three points on Friday night, Warning beat goaltender î=89tienne Marcoux with a spinning backhand shot 3:24 into play.
Quad City's lead lasted until the late stages of the opening frame, when the Fuel evened the score with a tally from Jack Burton. The rookie defenseman took a cross-ice feed from Josh Shalla and wired a shot behind Mallards netminder Jake Paterson for his second goal of the season.
Another goal from the blue line gave Indy its first lead of the night 8:34 into the second period. Robin Press threaded a wrist shot through traffic on the power play to make it 2-1, just 1:51 before Johnny McInnis tapped home a rebound to double the Fuel lead. Forward Stephen Collins marked the primary assist on both Press and McInnis' tallies, giving the rookie a total of six helpers in his last six games.
Matt Rupert capped off the three-goal barrage at 11:38 when he finished off a second chance opportunity, after Cam Reid was stuffed in tight by Paterson.
Down 4-1 to start the third, the Mallards used a pair of goals from Alex Globke to make things interesting down the stretch. The forward cut Indy's lead to a pair just 2:36 into the final frame when he beat Marcoux on a shorthanded breakaway. Then at the 9:20 mark of the third, a routine dump-in took an erratic bounce off the end glass, giving Globke a wide open net to pull the home team within one goal.
Quad City seemed determine to complete the comeback late in the third period, but Marcoux and the Fuel defense was able to shut the door. The rookie goaltender turned aside 27 shots for his ninth win of the season, while Paterson made 28 saves in his Mallards debut.
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