The Indy Fuel finished their four-game series against the Wichita Thunder last night at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The Fuel had won two of the first three against the Thunder. In this contest, the Fuel finished the series strong, taking the 4-3 victory in one of the most physical games of the season.
The first period of this game started physical and stayed physical throughout the game. The Thunder struck first after an Alex Brooks slashing penalty. It was Steven Iacobellis who opened the scoring on the power play and gave Wichita a 1-0 lead with his 20th goal of the season. It did not take long for the Fuel to find the equalizer. Josh Shalla stepped up and buried his 22nd goal of the season to tie the score at 1. The tie only lasted 36 seconds. Matheson Iacopelli gave the Fuel the 2-1 lead with his third goal of the season. The physical play was only getting more physical and it came to its first head when Anthony Collins and Tyler Elbrecht dropped the gloves. Both players served their five minutes for fighting and the Fuel took a 2-1 lead to the locker room.
The action in the middle frame picked up right where the first period left off. Wichita’s Pierre-Cedric Labrie went to the penalty box for boarding just 24 seconds into the period. Iacopelli added his name to the scoresheet again when he scored on the resulting power play. It was his second of the game and fourth of the season and gave the Fuel a 3-1 lead. At this point, the Thunder made the goaltending change. They pulled starter Dylan Wells in favor of Ty Rimmer. The Fuel would extend the lead to 4-1 when Alex Brooks put home a rebound for his sixth goal of the season. The Thunder would not go quietly, however, as Jakob Stukel cut into the lead with his 15th of the season to make the score 4-2. Matt Tomkins faced some major pressure toward the end of the period, but he stood tall and got some help from his defense and the Fuel took that two-goal lead into the final frame.
The third period is where things got dicey. There was a huge scrum in front of the Fuel bench that involved most of both teams. Players from Indy’s bench were throwing punches and multiple players on the ice dropped the gloves. This is the result when the same two teams play each other four games in a row and four times in eight days. In the end, the officials handed out 39 penalty minutes including a game misconduct to Indy’s Anthony Collins, three penalties for fighting, a 10-minute misconduct. After all had been sorted out, both teams got together after nearly every whistle. With just over six minutes left in the game, Wichita’s Jason Salvaggio cut the Fuel lead to one goal with his 10th goal of the season. After a final push from the Thunder, the Fuel escaped with the 4-3 victory.
The Fuel hit the road to take on the central division leading Cincinnati Cyclones on Friday, March 1. The puck will drop at 7:35 pm ET.
- Matheson Iacopelli: 2 G
- Josh Shalla: G, A
- Alex Brooks: G