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Indy Fuel


Fuel Overcome Late Penalties to Outlast Nailers

#ECHL | After a week of roster movement, one of the two new faces on the @IndyFuel roster helped the team inch closer to the top of the Central Division. @FPHIndy details the Friday night tilt against Wheeling:

Fuel Overcome Late Penalties to Outlast Nailers

INDIANAPOLIS – Hoping to build off of Tuesday morning’s victory over Kalamazoo, the Indy Fuel welcomed the Wheeling Nailers back to the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. With both teams sputtering recently and the postseason nearing, Friday night’s two points were critical to the standings. With Indy hoping to regain momentum for a late push at the top seed in the Central Division and Wheeling looking to catch Fort Wayne for the final playoff spot, the stakes were high.

Early on, it seemed as if the fans would be in for a defensive battle with the first shot not coming until nearly six minutes into the contest. Both sides struggled to get pucks on net and complete their offensive rushes, but the play picked up in the latter half of the period. Wheeling would strike first when Lane Gilliss fired home a rebound off a shot from the blue line by Davis Bunz. Indy’s Zach Driscoll made the initial save, but the heavy rebound went right to Gilliss, who took advantage and capitalized. In the closing stages of the first, Indy flipped the script, scoring two goals in the final 25 seconds. First, a partially blocked shot found its way to the stick of Max Golod, who slid the puck through Wheeling’s Brad Barone to tie the game. Then, just ten seconds later, Andrew Bellant’s one-timer from the right circle fought through a screen and into the back of the net to give the Fuel a 2-1 advantage heading into the intermission.

Unfortunately, the momentum didn’t carry into the early parts of the second period as two Fuel penalties allowed the Nailers to even the score when Sean Josling deked around and tucked the puck behind Driscoll to tie it at two.

From there, the rest of the period was dominated by Indy. They got back to their game of pounding Barone with chances and rebounds, and for the most part, he fought through it.

After a Fuel goal-ahead goal was waived off halfway through the period, the Fuel responded with one that counted on the power play. Barone made the initial save on a one-timer from the left circle but couldn’t scramble to the far post in time to stop Chase Lang, who tapped home the rebound that just barely crossed the line to put Indy back in front heading into the final period.

Once again to begin the period, the Fuel started off on the wrong foot, committing a penalty and allowing the Nailers a chance on the power play, but this time, Indy’s penalty kill came through. The majority of the period flew by with minimal whistles and shots but heated up late due to more Fuel miscues. With just over a minute to play, Indy committed another penalty, giving Wheeling a 6-on-4 opportunity for the remainder of the game, but Driscoll fought off a barrage of shots to seal the victory for the Fuel on Friday night.


First Period Rally

Giving up a goal in an otherwise tedious opening period, Indy seemed to be sleepwalking to the intermission, but down the stretch, they turned the tables in a big way. Physicality and pressure in the late stages of the frame propelled the Fuel to two late period goals in the final 25 seconds to give Indy the edge and energize them on their way to a win.

Untimely Penalties

A major negative takeaway from this game for Indy was their abundance of penalties at the worst times. To begin both the second and third periods, the Fuel surrendered momentum gained from the previous period by committing an infraction. Also, as mentioned, Indy committed two penalties in the final five minutes of the game to give Wheeling a chance to tie the game late. Wheeling only scored once on the man advantage, but these critical errors could’ve costed the Fuel in a big way tonight.

Fighting Roster Changes

The Fuel had quite a busy week in terms of roster movement, including trades, call-ups, and signings. A question entering Friday night’s game was whether or not the “new guys” could reverse the recent misfortune for the team, and so far, they answered the bell. One of those recent additions, Max Golod, scored the first goal of the night for Indy in his first game in the Circle City.

“It was great. We got a bunch of new players this week and the team was buzzing tonight.” Indy Fuel forward Chase Lang commented on Friday night’s victory over the Wheeling Nailers.

With the victory, Indy completes this week’s homestand with a 2-0 record and pulls within four points of second-place Toledo. Saturday night, they travel to Cincinnati to take on the first-place Cyclones to finish the weekend and attempt to climb closer to the top of the standings. The Fuel doesn’t return home until March 11, when they host the Toledo Walleye.

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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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