RECAP: Dufour continues multi-goal streak, Fuel defeat red-hot Nailers 5-2


INDIANAPOLIS — The Indy Fuel (15-13-0-0) started a three-game homestand on Thursday as they took on the Wheeling Nailers (15-12-2-0) for the fourth time this season. Matt Tomkins entered the night with a 10-9 record along with a 3.39 goals-against-average and an .899 save percentage.

At the other end for the Nailers, Matt O’Connor got the start. The 26-year-old netminder boasted a 7-2-1 record and a 2.48 goals-against-average and a .914 save percentage.


Josh Shalla – Quentin Shore – Brett Welychka

Alex Brooks – Neil Manning

Matt Tomkins

Olivier Labelle got the goal-scoring started early, as he put home a bouncing puck 51 seconds in to give the Fuel an early 1-0 lead. That was Labelle’s 11th of the season and the assists went to Shalla and Neil Manning.

Just over halfway through the opening frame, the Nailers tied it up at one. Josh Couturier buried his first professional goal on a cross-crease one-timer from Zac Lynch.

Defenseman Alex Brooks re-took the one-goal lead for the Fuel just over two minutes later, as he made his way down the wing to tally his second goal of the season. Manning recorded his second assist of the first period on the goal.

Kevin Dufour continued to stay hot as he dangled his way past the Wheeling defense and stuck with the play by burying his own rebound while falling. Dufour’s team-leading 15th goal of the season gave the Fuel a 3-1 lead.

The second period came and went as it began, as the Fuel were able to hang on to a 3-1 lead. A quick skirmish between Labelle and Mark Petaccio was the most action see in the middle frame.

The final frame started with yet another beautiful goal from Dufour to make it 4-1 Indy. Dufour’s 16th of the year came on a goal where he blew around the Nailers’ defenseman and tucked it past O’Connor.

Yushiroh Hirano tipped in a Renars Krastenbergs shot from the left circle on the power play to cut the Fuel lead in half 13:33 into the third period.

An empty netter sealed the deal for the Fuel as Ryan Rupert shot home his sixth of the season to lead the Fuel to a 5-2 victory over the hottest team in the ECHL.


Brooks on playing with five defensemen: “Going into it, we just tried stay simple, keep people in front of us, get pucks going north and just really not try to get running around too much. We simplified our game and I think it showed with a nice 5-2 win there.”

John on the consistency of the Labelle-Thompson-Dufour line: “It’s good. They’re playing at a high level right now. Dufour’s feeling it. He’s feeling confident. I think Thompson’s taken a big step here. He’s been playing the right way. Then, you’ve got a grinder like Labelle.  I think what we’ve done here, you look at our lines, we’ve got three lines that can contribute. We’ve got, I think, a guy on each line that has double-digit goals, if not more and they’re all doing the same thing. So, if we can keep that and that’s what we want to have, that balance because you want to be able to put one line out there and they can shut it down. We know if [the other team] puts their top line out there against the Dufour line, we’ll be all right with the other lines we’ve got. They can compete and score goals for us, so we’ve got to keep doing that.”

By The Numbers

3 – Number of consecutive multi-goal games for Dufour

16 – Number of goals for Dufour this year (T-5th in the ECHL)

4 – Consecutive 5-goal outings for the Fuel

Leave a Reply