INDIANAPOLIS – The Indy Fuel was the star of the show in the ECHL’s lone contest on Tuesday night, shutting out the visiting Norfolk Admirals in a 4-0 rout. It was the first-ever meeting between the two clubs, and the Fuel’s initial contest against a non-divisional opponent, despite being 25 games into the season. Indy represented the Central Division with pride as their high octane power play struck twice in the contest and in its seventh straight game. Fuel goaltender Michael Lackey couldn’t have asked for a better Indiana Farmers Coliseum debut, making 26 saves in his first shutout with Indy. Jan Mandat had his best night of the season to date, accounting for points on all four Fuel goals with one goal and three assists.
Norfolk jumped on the Fuel early in the game, forcing Lackey to get comfortable quickly. The Admirals would continue to pound away at the Fuel netminder, taking advantage of an early power play. Aided by their forecheck, the Fuel used their transition game to neutralize the Admiral attack. The second half of the opening period featured a majority of end-to-end action and minimal whistles. Indy was awarded a power play late in the period but failed to register a shot during the two minutes.
The Fuel fired on all cylinders in the second period, scoring a trio of goals in the middle frame. Indy started its surge early with Keoni Texeira finding Mandat floating freely behind the Admiral defense, leading to Mandat beating Norfolk goaltender Beck Warm on a breakaway. Mike Lee would double the Fuel lead on the power play, delivering a shot from the left point that fought through a screen and into the back of the net for a 2-0 score. Indy resumed its power-play dominance with Jared Thomas firing a one-timer that generated a rebound for Seamus Malone to drive past Warm to bring the lead to 3-0.
The Admirals would control the early parts of the third period, keeping the puck in the Fuel end with occasional turnovers that would result in Indy transition chances. After several of these situations, Norfolk would finally get burned, as Spencer Watson would finish off the scoring for the night on an odd-man rush, using a backhand shot to flip the puck over the glove of the goaltender and into the top right corner of the net, resulting in a 4-0 Indy lead that would stick for the remainder of the contest.
The Fuel continued their recent dominance at home, winning their fourth straight and seventh in their last nine games in the Circle City. It is also the fifth straight game that the Fuel have scored four goals in a game, a testament to their impressive success on the power play in recent weeks.
The Fuel and Admirals will battle once more on Wednesday night at 7:05 pm. It will be the final home game of 2021 for Indy before opening the new year with the Iowa Heartlanders at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum on Sunday, January 2nd for a 3 p.m. puck drop.
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