INDIANAPOLIS – If there is one team that you always want to be ready for, it’s your rival. Wednesday night, it seemed as though only one team brought their ‘A’ game.
On Wednesday, the Indy Fuel had a dominant performance against their in-state rival, the Fort Wayne Komets, 4-1 at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. However, despite Fort Wayne’s prestige as the top team in the central division and current Kelly Cup champion, the Fuel wasn’t intimidated by the challenge.
The first period started out slow, with both sides getting a feel for one another. Fort Wayne did an excellent job on the defensive side early and held Indy shotless for the first seven minutes of the contest. The Komets controlled most of the first period and forced Indy goaltender Cale Morris to make key saves to keep the game scoreless. A late Komet penalty would allow the Fuel to break the ice as Cedric Lacroix whistled a shot past Fort Wayne’s Jiri Patera at 16:19 of the first period.
The middle frame was all Indy. With 13 shots in the period, the Fuel continuously kept the pressure on Fort Wayne and forced them into several turnovers. Patera stood his ground for most of the period but surrendered a shot from Chad Yetman at the halfway point of the game to double the Indy lead to 2-0. Following the goal, Indy would generate numerous chances but could not capitalize on mistakes made by the Komets.
The third period focused mainly on the Fuel working to maintain their two-goal lead. Fort Wayne would finally find the back of the net after Shawn Boudrias was left alone in front of the Fuel net, received a pass below the goal crease, and elevated the puck over goaltender Cale Morris to cut the Fuel lead to 2-1 just 6:45 into the third.
Fort Wayne would have their fair share of chances to even the score, but Morris came up with save after save to keep the Fuel in front. Indy took complete control when Spencer Watson gave Indy a 3-1 lead in the latter half of the third on a shot from the slot that beat Patera with just under eight minutes to play. From then on, the Komets couldn’t get much else going and gave up an empty-net goal from Lacroix to fall 4-1 in the contest.
It was a chippy game overall. Indy came out and played with fire and seemed to have caught Fort Wayne in a slump that they never managed to get themselves out of. All night, Fort Wayne attempted bad passes and mishandled pucks that led to Indy chances.
Give credit to Indy’s physical game as they flustered the Komets all evening. Once Indy started the scoring, the Fuel seized the momentum and never relinquished it. It felt like a statement game for the Fuel against the first place Komets, as they had dropped four straight games entering Wednesday night’s contest.
“Tonight, we got the result,” commented Indy Fuel Head Coach Doug Christiansen.
Christiansen was pleased with Wednesday night’s performance against in-state rival Fort Wayne and hopes it brings the team momentum going into this weekend’s games.
The Fuel will be on the road for the next two weekends, with games at Cincinnati and Wheeling this Saturday and Sunday. Indy’s next home game will be on December 17, when the Fuel host the Cincinnati Cyclones.
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