Thunder Struck Down by Fuel 3-2
WICHITA - The Indy Fuel and Wichita Thunder faced off for the first time and only time of the 2022-23 season Wednesday night. After three back-to-back goals in the second period, the Fuel came away with the 3-2 win, their first against the Thunder since the 2019-20 season opener.
The first period was very close in shots, with Wichita having nine and the Fuel having eight. The Thunder had two power play opportunities throughout the period and the Fuel had one, but neither team was able to capitalize on their respective advantages and the game remained scoreless after the first 20 minutes.
Indy came out blazing in the middle frame, notching 17 shots over Wichita's six. The Thunder took a 1-0 lead less than a minute into the period with an equal strength goal from Michal Stinil. However, it didn't take the Fuel long to respond and open the goal-scoring floodgates. 3:46 into the second, Kale Howarth tied the game with a wrist shot over the glove of Wichita goaltender Evan Buitenhuis. At 9:32, Andrew Bellant gave the Fuel the lead assisted by Bryan Lemos and Andrew Perrott. The Thunder were the only team to take penalties in the second period, and Seamus Malone took advantage of Indy's second of three power play opportunities to give the Fuel some insurance and end the period 3-1.
Wichita's Stinil scored his second goal of the game just over six minutes into the third, making it 3-2. With just over eight minutes remaining, Indy's Jan Mandat and Wichita's Chris McKay dropped the gloves after a big hit from McKay against a member of the Fuel, earning them each five minutes for fighting, with Mandat receiving an additional two minutes for instigating. Despite a brief 5-on-3 advantage for Wichita with a minute and a half remaining, Indy goaltender Mitchell Weeks stopped everything in his path and the Fuel secured the 3-2 win.
The Fuel travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma tomorrow to play the first of three games in four days vs the Oilers, November 30 in Wichita, KS before heading to Tulsa, OK for three games.
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