The Indy Fuel continued their five-game homestand with a matchup against the ECHL-leading Cincinnati Cyclones. It was a back and forth contest, with both teams grabbing momentum for large portions of the game. When all was said and done, the Fuel escaped with a huge 7-6 victory over the Cyclones.
This game got off to a bit of a slow start, but once the action started, it did not slow down. Midway through the period, Woody Hudson went to the penalty box for slashing. On the ensuing penalty kill, Ryan Rupert got out on a breakaway and put home a shorthanded goal from his brother Matt to put the Fuel up 1-0. It was Ryan Rupert’s 21st goal of the season and Indy’s 13th shorthanded goal of the year. Indy wouldn’t hold the lead for long as Cincinnati’s Judd Peterson beat Matt Tomkins for his 11th goal of the campaign to tied the game at 1. Just one minute and 13 seconds later, Josh Shalla put one behind Cyclones starter Ty Rimmer to give the Fuel the lead right back. This was Shalla’s franchise-record 29th goal of the season, breaking the record that he set last year. Indy took that 2-1 lead to the locker room.
Early on in the middle frame, Cincinnati’s Pascal Aquin found the equalizer, tying the game up at two apiece. This was his 25th tally of the year. Mathew Thompson responded in kind about four minutes later with a strike of his own, an unassisted goal, his 17th of the season. This was the first of five straight Fuel goals. The second came off the stick of Matt Rupert, assisted by Ryan, for Matt’s 21st of the season. The goal gave Indy a 4-2 lead. Just over five minutes later, Ryan Rupert beat Rimmer again for his second of the game and 22nd of the season. With eight seconds left in the period, Thompson scored again. It was his second of the period and 18th of the season. This gave the Fuel a 6-2 going into the second intermission.
As the third period started, all eyes were on Ryan Rupert and Thompson. Both players had two goals in the game. It would be Rupert who would finish the hat trick with 12 minutes to play. Coincidentally, the goal came off an assist from Thompson, his third point of the game. Rupert’s goal was his 23rd of the season and his fourth point of the contest. From there, the Cyclones started their comeback. Less than 90 seconds after Rupert’s hat trick, Myles Powell scored to bring the score to 7-3. It was his 27th goal of the campaign. Five minutes later, it was DeVante Stephens beating Tomkins for his eighth goal of the year. This brought the score to 7-4. Just two-and-a-half minutes later, Kurt Gosselin made it a two-goal game with his fifth goal of the season. After a major push by the Cyclones on the two-man advantage, Powell found his second of the game and 28th of the season. However, it came with just eight seconds left in the game, which was not enough time for Cincinnati to come all the way back. The Fuel survived with the 7-6 win.
The Fuel continue their five-game homestand with three games in three days next weekend. The first of those games is against the Kalamazoo Wings on Friday, March 29. Puck drop at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum is scheduled for 7:35 pm ET.
3: IND – Matt Rupert: 1 G, 1 A
2: IND – Mathew Thompson: 2 G, 1 A
1: IND – Ryan Rupert: Hat trick, 1 A