INDIANAPOLIS — The Quad-City Mallards ran into one of the hotter teams in the league Tuesday night.
The Mallards fell 6-3 to the Indy Fuel Tuesday at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum, the Fuel's fifth win in their last six games.
"They're hot," head coach Phil Axtell said. "We've got to be mentally tough when you're short on bodies and we weren't and the result is in odd-man rushes against and goals in our net."
The Mallards skated with 15 players and Alex Wideman put the Fuel up just 10 seconds into the game.
"Bad bounce there on their first goal," Axtell said. "(Defenseman Guillaume Gelinas) lost an edge at our blue line and 2-on-1 going in against Vay and just, we didn't execute the gameplan. Didn't have a high guy, the 'D' were pinching and way too many odd-man rushes against."
Chris Francis tied the game at 13:59 with his 27th goal of the game, but the Fuel answered with three straight goals in the second period to take a 4-1 lead.
Justin Kovacs made it 4-2 heading into the third period with his 20th goal of the season, and Donnie Harris cut that lead to 4-3 at 10:03 in the third before Nick Bligh scored his third goal of the game at 13:19 to put the Fuel back up by two.
Jake Marchment added an empty-net goal in the final five seconds to cement the win.
"They just capitalized on their opportunities," Axtell said. "Too many odd-man rushes against."
Vay made 25 saves in net for the Mallards while Jake Hildebrand made 32 saves for the Fuel. The Mallards return home to host the Fort Wayne Komets Friday at 7:05 p.m.