READING, PA – The Reading Royals (27-26-4-5) defeated the Indy Fuel (29-29-2-2) 5-2 with goals in all three periods on Friday night at the Santander Arena in Pennsylvania.
Royals got on the board first when Forward Tyler Brown tried to edge in the puck on the left side of the net but was denied by Indy goaltender Gordon Defiel twice. Defiel sprawled out on the ground to make both saves but Brown scooped up the rebound to dump it into the right corner for the first score of the night.
Just two minutes later Brayden Low won a face-off and darted the puck back to Charlie Vasaturo who fired a slap shot from the right circle that flew over Defiel’s left shoulder to bring the score to 2-0 in the first period.
One minute into the second period Olivier Labelle crossed the puck from the left circle to leading goal scorer Josh Shalla who tipped into the net past Jamie Phillips to notch his 27th of the season. Labelle made his return to Reading for the first time as an opposing player. Labelle played parts of five seasons with the Royals leading the franchise in both goals (128) and games played (294).
In a series of unfortunate events, Indy found themselves on the penalty kill four times consecutively halfway through the second period. The Royals were finally able to capitalize on a 5-on-3 chance with a one-timer from Nick Luukko that found the back of the net at 15:21.
Michael Huntebrinker had a partial breakaway down center ice and was able to lift the puck over Defiel’s glove to bring the score to 4-1 at the end of the second period.
Defensemen Dmitry Osipov scored his first goal of the season off a shot from the right circle to cut the Royals lead to 4-2 at 5:05 in the third.
Fuel pulled Defiel for the extra attacker on the power play with two minutes remaining in the third and Brown grabbed a turn over to nab an empty netter bringing the final score to 5-2.
The Fuel went 0-for3 on the power play while the Royals went 1-for-5. Defiel had 34 saves on 38 shots while Phillips had 21 saves on 23 shots.
The Fuel plays the Royals again tomorrow for a 7:00 p.m. puck drop in a best of two series in Pennsylvania.
Single-game tickets are now on sale for the Fuel’s 5th anniversary season at Indiana Farmers Coliseum! Lock up your seat for every second of the action at Indiana Farmers Coliseum with a Fuel Ticket Plan – grab yours by heading to IndyFuelHockey.com or by calling the Fuel front office at 317-925-FUEL. Don’t forget to follow the Fuel on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (IndyFuel) for news, updates, contests and much more throughout the 2018-19 season.