INDIANAPOLIS — This time, it wasn't the first period that sunk the Quad-City Mallards.

Despite a strong opening period, the Mallards gave up three straight goals in the final two to fall 3-1 to the Indy Fuel on Friday at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.

The Mallards had been outscored by 16 goals in the first period entering Friday's game but took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission on Brayden Low's sixth goal of the season at the 18-minute, 26-second mark of the period.

The Mallards outshot the Fuel 15-8 in the first period but were outshot 29-15 the rest of the way.

"We had a great first period but took the second period off," head coach Phil Axtell said. "We didn't get the puck out or pucks in behind their 'D.'"

The Mallards gave the goal back in the second period. A skirmish put Kyle Bigos and Dmitry Osipov in the penalty box with double minors while Indy’s Nathan Noel and Reed Seckel each earned just single minor roughing calls.

That gave the Fuel two minutes of 5-on-3, and Indy capitalized with a goal from Ryan Rupert at 10:33.

Rupert was responsible for the hit on Justin Kovacs on Nov. 12 that has kept Kovacs off the ice since and landed Rupert a four-game suspension from the league.

The Fuel took the lead in the third period when Brandon Anselmini scored just as a power play had expired, capitalizing on a backdoor chance, leaving goaltender C.J. Motte with little opportunity for the save.

Anselmini and Rupert each had a goal and an assist, and Motte made 34 saves coming off his first shutout with the Mallards last week.

"Both of their goals were back door," Axtell said. "We need to find a way to finish our chances. Motte played well again."

Johnny McInnis iced the game with an empty-net goal in the final minute.

The Mallards were 0 for 3 on the power play.

"Our power play didn't execute, and they won the special teams battle," Axtell said.

The Mallards travel to Independence, Missouri, today to face the Kansas City Mavericks at 7:05 p.m.