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Admirals Grind Out Shootout Victory over Fuel

Admirals Grind Out Shootout Victory over Fuel

INDIANAPOLIS – Dylan Wells stopped 42 shots and a pair of shootout attempts to carry the Norfolk Admirals to a 3-2 shootout victory over the Indy Fuel at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum on Wednesday night.  The Fuel, winners of their previous four home contests, struggled much of the night getting crisp chances on the Admiral goaltender. 

The Indy power play went an unprecedented 0 for 8 on the night.  A recent strength for Indy, the man advantage never seemed to come to fruition tonight, as they struggled to set up and generate quality chances.  The Fuel missed wide with regularity, as well as occasional shots off the post.  It was clear that Indy was missing a key piece to their power play, their “quarterback”, Mike Lee, who had been called up to Hartford of the American Hockey League prior to the game.  Not all special teams were lost; however, as the Fuel were able to capitalize on a Norfolk turnover and strike for a rare shorthanded goal, courtesy of Seamus Malone

Wednesday night started in a very unusual fashion, as the Admirals felt pressure early from the Fuel forwards and ended up icing the puck five times in the first two minutes of the game.  The teams traded penalties throughout the period, totaling three minors each at the conclusion of the opening frame.  Both sides had a flurry of chances in the period, with the majority of Indy’s coming in the later stages of the first.  Despite the Fuel controlling the period, Norfolk would strike first late in the frame, with Steven Leonard applying pressure on the Fuel defenders, freeing up the puck for Chase Lang to shovel a backhand shot past Indy netminder Mitch Gillam. 

 

Norfolk would carry their momentum into the middle frame, taking advantage of several Indy turnovers from sloppy play leading to Admiral odd-man rushes.  It wasn’t until about halfway through the period that the Fuel started to regain traction.  Griff Jeszka evened the score at 10:18 of the second, punching a rebound home from an initial shot by Keegan Iverson.  Just minutes later, Malone would capitalize on a shorthanded opportunity, wristing a shot from the left circle past Wells for a 2-1 lead.  Indy continued to have success on the penalty kill, generating three more scoring chances while down a man, just missing out on a third goal.

 

The third was a slugfest with altercations after nearly every whistle and numerous penalties throughout the period.  Norfolk would take advantage, capitalizing on a tripping penalty and Fuel turnover behind the net with Alex Tonge poking the puck across the line past a sprawling Gillam to tie the game at two.  The teams traded chances in the latter half of the period, with both goaltenders being forced to be at their best.  Indy had a golden opportunity late, with the reward of a double minor power play, but the Admiral penalty kill continued to stifle the Fuel power play.

 

The 2-2 tie after three periods led to overtime, with the teams combining for eleven shots in the seven-minute extra frame but none leading to goals.  This resulted in a shootout, in which the Fuel would fall 2-0 in just two rounds.  Matt Carey and former Fuel forward Colton Heffley accounted for the two Norfolk shootout goals, giving the Admirals a 3-2 victory.  The triumph snapped Norfolk’s seven-game losing streak coming into the night.  

 

“It was a nice respite, but I think for all of us we are looking forward to seeing Toledo,” Indy Fuel Head Coach Doug Christiansen commented on the team’s doubleheader with non-divisional opponent Norfolk and resuming play against central division opponents.

 

Despite the loss, the Fuel managed to take three of four points in their midweek doubleheader with the Admirals.  Indy will resume play on New Year’s Eve in Toledo in their first-ever outdoor game.  The Fuel will return home on Sunday, January 2nd, to clash with the Iowa Heartlanders to begin the new year.

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    Josh Neireiter covers the Indy Fuel for Field Pass Hockey. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @FPHFuel.

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