SLOW START DOOMS FUEL IN LOSS TO WINGS
KALAMAZOO, MICH. - Looking to complete a weekend sweep, the Indy Fuel (16-18-2-1) fell into an early hole and could not recover, suffering a 6-2 defeat at the hands of the Kalamazoo Wings Sunday afternoon at Wings Event Center. The loss snapped the Fuel's three-game winning streak, and increased the Wings' lead on Indy to 11 points for the fourth and final playoff spot in the ECHL's Central Division.
Both clubs playing their third game in as many days, Kalamazoo scored three unanswered goals to begin and end the contest - evening the 10-game season series with the Fuel at two games apiece. Indy will return to Wings Event Center for a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader next weekend.
Tallies from Tyler Biggs, Kyle Blaney and J.T. Stenglein in a 5:38 span helped catapult the Wings to a 3-0 lead before the game's 13-minute mark.
Indy responded with the next two goals of the contest, the first coming on the power play in the final minute of the opening period. Ryan Rupert corralled a cross-ice feed from Johnny McInnis, before banking a shot off a Kalamazoo defender and behind goaltender Joel Martin to put the Fuel on the board with his sixth marker of the season.
Forward Garrett Clarke pulled Indy within one at the 3:26 mark of the second frame, taking a pass down low from Ryan Rupert and beating Martin under the crossbar. Clarke's third goal of the campaign was his second in less than 24 hours, following his first-period strike in Saturday's Fuel win over Cincinnati.
Kalamazoo was able to restore its three score cushion by the end of the middle period, by way of a pair of Josh Pitt power play goals. The Wings forward beat Indy netminder î=89tienne Marcoux from the top of the right circle at 7:23 of the second to make it 4-2, before finishing a Justin Taylor rebound at 18:47. Taylor finished the game with three helpers for Kalamazoo.
After notching assists on both of Pitt's goals, forward Jimmy Mullin completed his own three-point night when he capped off the day's scoring at 16:38 of the third period - also on the power play. Kalamazoo finished the afternoon 3-for-7 on the man advantage, while the Fuel scored once on four chances.
The Wings held a 45-32 edge in the shot column, forcing Martin to make 30 saves to register his 14th win of the season. Marcoux stopped 27 of 32 shots through two periods of action in what was his 11th consecutive start for Indy. Greg Dodds took over for the third period, making 12 saves.
Indy closes out a stretch of four games in five days Tuesday when the club returns to Indiana Farmers Coliseum to host the Fort Wayne Komets. Then it's back on the road for the Fuel for another three-in-three weekend, starting in Cincinnati on Friday night.
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