The Indy Fuel returned home Saturday night to host the Wichita Thunder in the teams’ fourth showdown in a row, and emotions were running high.
Tuesday’s game saw multiple fights and a final of 5-3, which came after Indy had taken two-straight on the Thunder’s ice, so the Fuel were looking to get back on track again and show they had a lot left in the tank down the final stretch of the season.
The game started slow, with the Thunder taking an early 1-0 lead and really controlling the ice, not allowing Indy to get much going and keeping the puck in Thunder scoring territory.
Things changed within a few minutes, though, as Josh Shalla and Matheson Iacopelli scored matching goals at 8:32 and 9:08 to give the Fuel a 2-1 lead. Anthony Collins also found his way to the penalty box after an epic fight got the near-sold out crowd worked into a frenzy to close out an intense 1st Period.
The 2nd Period saw the intensity and physicality increase substantially, with the Fuel increasing the lead to 4-2 with goals from Alex Brooks and a second from Iacopelli, before the Thunder scored their second goal of the game.
The Thunder started to threaten late in the 3rd Period, scoring to cut the lead down to 4-3, but the Fuel upped their defense and kept the Thunder from tying the game, playing strong down the stretch to a 4-3 lead.
Both teams came into the game with a lot to play for and it showed. Indy had won two games in Wichita, during this four-game series but with the Thunder taking game 3, the Fuel were looking to close out the weekend with their 3rd win of the series and looked to make a serious drive toward the Playoffs.
Both teams didn’t hold back on the checks, punches and violent playing and the rabid fans loved every minute of it. With each win and loss, this week’s Fuel playing was exactly what was needed recently and they got their confidence back, ready to move back up in the Central Division heading into March.