INDIANAPOLIS – Coming off a disappointing 5-1 home ice setback to Wheeling less than 24-hours earlier, the Indy Fuel played with renewed zest and energy, only to fall short Sunday afternoon at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum as first place Toledo staved off Indy for a 3-2 triumph.
Though they never led in the first of 9-meetings this season against the reigning Brabham Cup Regular Season Champions Walleye, the Fuel were gallant. The home team forged a 1-1 early second period deadlock when slick center Ryan Rupert and twin brother Matt Rupert collaborated their offensive exploits to the tune of Indy’s first shorthanded goal of the season at the 4:33 mark with Ryan delivering his second goal of the campaign and his first on home ice.
After the Toledoans broke the deadlock and built a 3-1 advantage on the impetus of a Christian Hilbrich tie-breaking strike in the final minute of the middle stanza at 19:11 and a Zack Nastasiuk breakaway thrust at 5:32 of the third period, the Fuel made matters uncomfortable for the first place Walleye when Mike Neal, appearing in only his third game of the season, cashed-in his first goal of the season at 14:40 of the final frame.
Having shaved the deficit to 3-2, the Fuel lifted goaltender Etienne Marcoux for the 6th attacker but were unable to infiltrate enemy lines to gain the equalizer. Toledo outshot Indy, 30-26 with the Walleye power play unfounded at 0-4; the Fuel were 0-3.
Marcoux sustained the setback in goal for the Fuel who are winless in their last 4-starts at 4(0-3-1) while the Walleye have swelled their win skein to 4-in succession. Ryan Rupert was instrumental on both Fuel goals, engineering 1-goal, 1-assist.
Next up for Indy 9(2-5-2) is a weekend trip to Moline, IL where they will be hosted by the Quad City Mallards, Saturday night, November 11th at 8;00 pm and, again, Sunday afternoon, November 12th at 5;00 pm to cap the two-games series.
Indy’s next home appearance will be Tuesday night, November at 7:05 pm when they rekindle hostilities with the Walleye on “All-You-Can Eat-Night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.