Wednesday, February 18th, Fuel 4, Fort Wayne 5.
In their third annual Education Day game, the Indy Fuel hosted a critical central division rival, the Fort Wayne Komets. The Komets came into the Indiana Farmers Coliseum brimming with confidence after they bested the Fuel twice last week.
Indy needed to get off to a good start after losing all three games the previous week. The notoriously fast-starting Fuel got off to yet another fast start. Recently acquired left-wing, Ryan Van Stralen got the party started off right. Van Stralen danced his way in off the half board and fired a shot past the Komets goalie, Cole Kehler, for the Fuel’s first goal.
In the final minute of the first period, Bobby MacIntrye extended the Fuel lead. MacIntrye received a backdoor pass from center, Derian Plouffe, for the tap in goal. This was MacIntrye’s sixth goal in seven games.
In the second period, the Komets went from trailing to taking the lead in a matter of minutes. Fort Wayne forward, Brad Shaw fired a puck past the screened Fuel goalie, Dan Bakala. The Komets immediately tied the game with a goal from right-winger Shawn Szydlowski. Szydlowski had somehow gotten lost in the shuffle and was able to beat Bakala with a wrister.
The tie was short-lived as Komets center Drake Rymsha one-timed a shot past Bakala to give the Komets a 3–2 lead after two periods.
In the third just past the six minutes into the period, Van Stralen blasted a one-timer past Kehler for the game-tying goal.
🎯POWER PLAY GOAL 🎯
Van Stralen scores his second of the night and ties the game at 3! pic.twitter.com/wKnAxJLOkl
— Indy Fuel (@IndyFuel) February 18, 2020
Van Stralen was set up beautifully by 6’8″ forward Alex Krushelnyski for the game-tying goal. The Fuel relinquished the lead late on a deflection play. Komets defenseman Gabriel Verpaelst threw a puck toward the Fuel net and it deflected off an unsuspecting Fuel defender for the goal.
With the Fuel trailing late, once again, Van Stralen completed his hat trick and tied the game with a poke-in goal. Despite the heroic effort from Van Stralen, the lead did not last. Komets forward Anthony Petruzzelli delivered the death blow to the Fuel with deflection goal to seal the victory for the opposition.
This lost was the Fuel’s fifth in a row.
Friday, February 21st, Fuel 5, Kalamazoo 4.
In desperate need of a win, the Fuel took on the Kalamazoo Wings on Friday, February 21st. Coming into the contest, the Fuel had won the only matchup against Kalamazoo this month.
This first period was a free-wheeling period with six goals scored between both teams. The Fuel uncustomarily trailed to start this contest. Wings’ defenseman Aaron Throm dumped in a shot that ricocheted off Fuel defenseman Craig Wyszomirski for a flukey Wings goal.
The Fuel tied the game with a league-leading 28th goal from forward, Spencer Watson. Watson’s goal was in part to the faceoff win and assist from center Derian Plouffe. The lead from Watson’s goal did not last very long as Wings forward Brennan Sanford smacked a bouncing puck past Fuel goalie Charles Williams.
Trailing by one, Fuel defenseman Jake Ryczek seized the moment shooting the puck from the blue line. The puck bounced off a Wings defenseman for the game-tying goal.
Jake Ryczek knotting the game at two each! pic.twitter.com/WREdUwkkah
— Indy Fuel (@IndyFuel) February 22, 2020
With the game tied 2–2, the Fuel looked to take the lead on the Wings. Plouffe blasted a shot toward the Wings, the shot yielded a rebound that Fuel defenseman Cliff Watson banged home.
After a scoreless second period, the third period saw the Fuel’s lead crumble away. Following an Alex Krushelnyski interference penalty, Wings forward (and Illinois native) Austin Farley snapped off a wrist shot that was deflected in by former Rockford Icehogs forward, Garett Ross. With the game tied a barrage of shots came from Wings Eric Kattelus who eventually broke through the Williams wall and took the lead.
With the game on the line, Fuel center Derian Plouffe rose to the occasion. After receiving a pass from linemate Mathieu Foget, Plouffe wristed a shot past Wings goalie Jake Kielly to tie the game. Plouffe heroism did not stop in regulation. In overtime, Plouffe completed his four-point night with a game-winning goal. The victory for the Fuel ended their four-game losing streak.
Saturday, February 22nd, Fuel 1, Fort Wayne 2.
With the Fuel winning on Friday night, they were looking to continue their momentum against the Fort Wayne Komets. In the first period, the Komets capitalized on a penalty committed by the Fuel. Komets center, Brad Morrison rifled a shot from the blue line that beat a screened goalie, Charles Williams. The Fuel received multiple chances at redemption, however, the Fuel failed to score. The period ended with Fuel trailing 1–0.
Two minutes into the second period, Komets left wing, Alan Lyszczarczyk ambushed a rebound from Fuel defenseman Olivier Galipeau and beat goalie Charlie Williams for the second Komets goal. After a lengthy review, the goal was confirmed as a good goal. After two periods, the Fuel trailed the Komets 2–0.
In the third period, the Fuel finally broke through on the power play. Defenseman Cliff Watson one-timed a pass from Dylan McLaughlin to cut the Komets lead in half.
One goal down, one more to go pic.twitter.com/JHF127NfP4
— Indy Fuel (@IndyFuel) February 23, 2020
After the Watson goal, the Fuel let loose shot after shot on Komets goalie Patrick Munson. However, Munson was able to withstand the Fuel barrage and secure the win for the Komets. The Fuel winning streak ended at one game.
Nathan Noel Traded to Philadelphia
The Indy Fuel, Chicago Blackhawks, and Rockford Icehogs affiliate traded Nathan Noel to Philadelphia Flyers for TJ Brennan. Noel appeared in 39 games with the Fuel this season. He tallied six goals and 11 assists during his tenure with the Fuel. The 5’11 forward had signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Blackhawks in the 2017-18 season. Before joining the Fuel, Noel spent four seasons with the Saint John Sea Dogs in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). For his career, he appeared in 60 ECHL games recording 10 goals and 18 assists. Noel also appeared in eight games with the Rockford Icehogs this season.
- Forward Dyland McLaughlin was returned to the Indy Fuel on February 21st. The 5’10 forward was recalled by the Rockford Icehogs on January 1st. He appeared in 25 games scoring two goals and four assists.
- Forward Tim Söderlund was assigned to the Indy Fuel on February 21st. The smallish forward skated in 29 games with the Rockford Icehogs this season. He tallied one goal and two assists during his tenure with the Icehogs.
- Defenseman Jose McArdle was recalled by the Rockford Icehogs. This is his second recall by the Icehogs this season. In his first stint, he failed to appear in a game. The 6’1 defenseman had appeared in 44 games with the Fuel this season. He tallied two goals and eight assists this season.
- Defenseman Jack Ramsey recalled by the Rockford Icehogs. Despite being recalled multiple times this season, Ramsey has failed to appear in an AHL game. The former seventh-round pick of the Blackhawks in 2014 has appeared in 40 games with the Fuel this season.
- Forward Spencer Watson is the league leader with goals with 28.
- Defenseman Cliff Watson has scored goals in three of four games.