The Fuel Tank: Three of a different kind, as Fuel lose two and win one


Fuel’s struggles continued this past week, falling in two of three games

Friday, Feb. 28 — Kalamazoo 1, Fuel 0

Zeroed out, whitewashed, nothing! These were the words used to describe both the Fuel and Wings on Friday. There were no goals scored through regulation and overtime despite multiple chances by both teams.

The stars of this game were the netminders. It was a duel between the current Fuel goaltender and a former Fuel goaltender. The Fuel’s goalie, Dan Bakala, and Wings goalie Jake Hildebrand fought off everything each team threw at them through regulation. Hildebrand stonewalled the Fuel on several power play chances throughout the game. 

In overtime, both Bakala and Hildreband fought off breakaway chances to keep the game scoreless. Despite the Fuel outshooting the Wings 4–3 in overtime, the game proceeded to the shootout. The shootout went three rounds with the Fuel and Wings each scoring once. The game was decided by 5-foot-11 Wings forward Justin Kovacs, as Kovacs beat Bakala on a five-hole wrist shot. 

Saturday, Feb. 29 — Fuel 4, Greenville 3

The Fuel returned to the ice in their second game at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum and their first in a back-to-back against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits on Saturday. The Fuel, after being shut out in their last game, jumped on the Swamp Rabbits early. Six minutes into the first period, Fuel defenseman Craig Wyszomirski blasted a slap shot past the Swamp Rabbits goaltender, Jeremy Helvig, for the first goal of the game and a 1–0 Indy lead. Despite getting three power play chances in the first period, the Fuel lead was only one goal at the end of the first period. 

In the second period, the Fuel doubled up the Swamp Rabbits, as Fuel forward Alex Rauter whizzed a shot past the 6-foot Helvig for the second Fuel goal of the game. After taking the 2–0 lead, Indy had a problem staying out of the penalty box. The recently sent-down Tim Soderlund committed a penalty to give the Swamp Rabbits their first power play of the game. With the Fuel shorthanded, the Swamp Rabbits’ Mason Baptista capitalized on the Soderland penalty. Baptista beat Fuel goalie Chase Marchand for Greenville’s first goal of the game, cutting the score to 2–1 Indy. 

Following the Greenville goal, the Fuel committed three more penalties. Smelling blood in the water, Greenville pounced on the Fuel and took the lead, as Greenville’s Nathan Perkovich deflected a wrist shot by Matt Marcinew in for the game-tying goal. Greenville then took the lead on a slap shot from Liam Pecararo. The second period ended with the Fuel trailing 3–2. 

The third period started with the Fuel firing up the comeback machine. Rauter sped down the ice past the Swamp Rabbits’ defense and beat Helvig for the game-tying goal, leveling things at 3–3. 

Just 16 seconds later, the Fuel struck again, taking a 4–3 lead, as Joe Sullivan blasted a shot past Helvig’s shoulder. Despite a furious comeback attempt from the Swamp Rabbits, the Fuel pulled out the 4–3 victory.

Sunday, March 1 — Greenville 4, Fuel 3

In their second game of the back-to-back with Greenville, the Fuel fell victim to the third-period comeback. Indy once again jumped out to the early lead, as Liam Coughlin got the Fuel on the board early for a 1–0 advantage. Coughlin threw a puck at the net and followed his shot for the put-in goal. With the Fuel lead at one, Bobby MacIntrye doubled the lead with a breakaway goal, pushing the score to 2–0 Indy.

The two-goal lead did not last long, as Greenville’s 24-year-old Kamerin Nault fired a puck past Bakala to cut the Indy lead in half at 2–1. After drawing a penalty, MacIntyre wired a puck past Greenville’s goalie, Ryan Bednard, for another two-goal Fuel lead at 3–1.

With a two-goal lead in hand, the Fuel looked to be on their way to victory and then the collapse happened. It started with Baptista deflecting in a shot past Bakala, making the score 3–2. With Greenville down by one goal, Baptista completed a spinorama pass to Patrick Bajkov. Bajkov buried a shot past Bakala to tie the game at 3–3. The Fuel relinquished the lead with under four minutes to play on a goal from Swamp Rabbits forward Michael Pelach, as the 6-foot-3 forward scored the game-winner to give Greenville a split of the weekend series with a 4–3 victory.


Fuel acquire Cody Payne from from the Worcester Railers for future considerations

Fuel deal Christian Horn to the Utah Grizzlies for future considerations

The Fuel complete two trades on Thursday. The first trade was acquiring Cody Payne from the Worcester Railers. The 26-year-old Payne played in 40 games with Worcester Railers, recording seven goals and nine assists. Before playing the ECHL, The 6-foot-2 forward spent three seasons at the University of Prince Edward Island, posting 31 goals and 46 assists.

In a separate trade, the Fuel traded Christian Horn for future considerations. Horn appeared in five games with the Fuel after being acquired from the Norfolk Admirals on Jan. 15. Horn has registered four goals and five assists in 21 games between the Fuel and Admirals this season.

Fuel Drop

  • Forward Alex Rauter has scored two goals in the last three games since returning from injury
  • Forward Tim Soderland recorded his first point as a member of the Fuel on Feb. 28. Soderland had been sent down from the Rockford IceHogs last week.
  • Defenseman Jack Ramsey was reassigned to the Fuel. Ramsey is the son of Mike Ramsey from the 1980 Miracle on Ice team. Ramsey had appeared in 40 games with the Fuel this season.
  • After being assigned to the Fuel on Feb. 21, the Rockford IceHogs recalled Dylan McLaughlin from the Indy on Feb. 26. The forward appeared in one game with Fuel while in Indy. McLaughlin has appeared in a total of 19 games with the Fuel this season, tallying 13 goals and 10 assists.

The Fuel will return to action on Friday, taking on the Toledo Walleye at 7:35 p.m.

Leave a Reply