INDIANAPOLIS – Despite building an early lead, the Indy Fuel (1-2-1-0) could not hand the Florida Everblades (5-0-0-0) their first loss of the season, falling 3-1 Wednesday night in the first of three meetings this week at Germain Arena. The Everblades scored three unanswered goals through the final 40 minutes of play to remain perfect on the 2017-18 season, while the Fuel are still looking for their first victory away from home ice. The two clubs will face off again Friday night at 7:30 p.m. ET, with puck drop for Saturday’s finale coming at 7 p.m.
Indy struck first on a first-period power play goal, but the home team claimed momentum as the game progressed – outshooting the Fuel 36-18 over the last two periods, including a 19-8 margin in the second. Moments after a second period power play expired, Everblades forward Michael Kirkpatrick tied the game at 1-1 when he fired a cross-ice feed past goaltender Collin Delia at the 15:14 mark.
Florida would claim the lead near the midway point of the third, when Joe Cox finished a broken play for his third goal of the season. The Fuel struggled to gain much offensive footing in the second half of the game, as the Everblades kept high quality chances against goaltender Martin Ouellette to a minimum.
With Delia pulled in favor of the extra attacker, Florida iced the contest with an empty net tally from Matt Berry with 1:03 left in regulation. Cox would tally the secondary assist to complete a two-point night.
Tommy Olczyk accounted for Indy’s only goal, converting a centering pass from Nick Bligh at 9:19 of the first period. Forward Cam Reid picked up the second helper, his league-leading fifth power play assist of the season. The Fuel now have tallied at least one goal with the man advantage in all four of their games this season, though they failed to strike again Wednesday, finishing 1-for-7. Indy’s penalty kill remains unblemished for the season, killing off all three Everblades chances faced.
Delia was strong in what was a relief appearance, stopping 30 of 32 shots after replacing starting goaltender Matt Tomkins early in the second period. Tomkins stopped all 11 shots he faced through 22:14, before leaving the game with an injury. On the other side, Ouellette improved to 3-0-0 on the season with a 26-save performance.