It took just 87 seconds to cue Chelsea Dagger Friday night at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum, as Daniel Ciampini deftly tipped in a point shot from Zach Miskovic.
But that was just the start of the fireworks, as the Fuel set a franchise record for goals in a 7-3 victory over the Evansville IceMen in a penalty-filled game.
The two teams will have a rematch Saturday evening in the same venue.
The Fuel got going with a mammoth first period that saw them score four times on 12 shots, dominate possession and the shot count, and use it to take a four-goal lead.
That chased old friend Cody Reichard from the Icemen net, but Indy added two more in an equally-dominant second period to build a 6-0 edge.
“We had a good bounce-back game tonight,” Ciampini said, noting the Fuel getting back to their winning ways after a 3-1 loss in Cincinnati two nights ago. “We were shooting the puck – that’s something we preached in the days in practice this week. It’s good to see guys shooting and get rewarded.”
Ciampini was one of several players with big nights. He had two goals and an assist. Adam Lapsansky added a goal and three assists, and was +4 on the night. Peter Schneider scored twice in 1:20 in the first period, and added two assists. Zach Miskovic, Michael Colantone, Nick Petrecki and Alex Lavoie also had multi-point nights.
It got started quickly. Zach Miskovic wired a shot from the point toward Ciampini, who was camped out in front of the net and tipped it in from waist level.
“Wednesday, I wasn’t very good at getting to the net and getting in the goalie’s eyes. I wanted to be a little better,” Ciampini said. “The first one, I was looking for a high tip, I was lucky to get a moving screen at the right time.”
It was important, again, to get off to an early start. In their last five wins, the Fuel have scored the first goal in four.
“We were talking about in the locker room before, it’s good to get a good start, get the first goal,” Schneider said. “It’s much easier to play – you’re much calmer on the puck and the game slows down a little bit.”
Indy kept the pressure on and earned a power play with 8:52 left in the first period, and took the full two minutes to get the perfect setup. Schneider set up Lapsansky for a cross-ice one-timer, and Colantone put the rebound into the open side in the power play’s final second.
The first goal was big. A second was bigger. Adding a third and fourth by the end of the period set the wheels in motion for another victory.
“That was huge,” Schneider said of the Fuel’s building on the lead. “Sometimes, it’s easy to sit back once you score a couple of goals. We didn’t do that, we kept pressing.”
The dam broke open after a skirmish with 3:50 left in the period – which saw 44 minutes in penalties handed out to combatants Mike Duco and Vincent Dunn of Evansville and Dylan Clarke of the Fuel. After the dust settled, Indy got another power play. Six seconds after it expired, Ciampini fed Schneider at the back door for a tip-in that gave the Fuel a three-goal lead, and Schneider then deflected in a shot by Petrecki from the point 80 seconds later.
“The first one, it started with Ben Marshall making a play, and then Lapsansky made a great play getting it to Ciampini,” Schneider said. “He saw me on the back door, I just tucked it in. That was an easy one. The second, Cody Sharib won the puck at the wall and gave it up to Petrecki. He had a bomb of a shot, it hit me in the hand and stick, but somehow it went in.”
The second period was more of the same – Ciampini taking a stretch pass from Lapsansky, deking Christoffer Bengtsberg – who took over the IceMen net in the second – and scoring 3:46 in. Lapsansky made it 6-0 with his fourth point of the day – and first goal – on a rebound with 7:29 left in the period.
“We have not done that successfully, especially going into the locker room with a lead after one and then it diminishing from there,” Hillman said of the Fuel being able to build on leads. “For us to get that fifth goal to start the second period was huge.”
Owen won for the fifth time in his last seven starts, stopping 26 of 29 shots, the only blemishes being that third-period stretch that cut the lead to 6-3. He now has a 1.86 GAA and .941 save percentage in his last seven stats.
Evansville scored three times in a six-minute stretch of the third – the last coming off the stick of former Indiana Ice forward Alex Wideman.
“We would’ve liked to have helped Shane a bit tonight,” Ciampini said. “It’s good to get the two points, he played a great game, but I think we could’ve helped him out a little more. That’s going to be a focal point going forward.”
But the Fuel re-took control of the game, drew a late power play, limited the Evansville chances in the closing minutes. Indy capitalized on a point shot by Miskovic to provide the icing on the cake for a big victory. Miskovic’s goal also broke the Fuel team record for goals in a game.
“I like the way guys responded,” Hillman said. “After they got their third goal, guys were ‘enough’s enough, we’ve got to get back to where we were.'”
- Peter Schneider (Fuel) 2G/2A
- Adam Lapsansky (Fuel) G/3A, +4
- Daniel Ciampini (Fuel) 2G/A
- The seven goals marked a franchise record. The Fuel had previously scored six goals twice in their inaugural season – in a 7-6 home loss to Florida on Dec. 6, 2014; and in a 6-1 win in Greenville on March 21, 2015.
- Three of the Fuel’s goals came off shots from the point, with two deflections and one coming via a great screen in front, as Indy took advantage of its abundant zone time in the first two periods to work the cycle game. “There were a lot of nice plays, a lot of good zone time,” Hillman said. “Good to see our D getting shots through that find their way to the back of the net. It’s always huge to get that early lead, get momentum and build on it.”
- Taking care of home ice is key, especially with the team playing a number of home games in a row. The Fuel have now won five straight home games, and are 14-10-0 at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. They have won eight of their 12 home games since Dec. 27. “At the beginning of the year, we had a good stretch at home,” Schneider said. “The fans helped us out a lot. We want to pay them back for their loyalty. It’s good that we’re getting on a home winning streak here.”
- The last four of those wins have come against division foes. With three games left in this eight-game stretch against Midwest Division teams, the Fuel are 4-1-0 in it, and have used that run to climb to second in the division.
- Schneider had his first four-point game as a member of the Fuel, as did Lapsansky. The game marked Schneider’s fourth multi-point game of the year, and his first two-goal game since Dec. 26 at Quad City. Lapsansky, playing his 11th game this season, tallied his third multi-point game.
- Ciampini’s three-point game was a season-high for him. He now has four multi-point games, including two this week. He also had two assists on Sunday in the 3-2 win over Fort Wayne.
- Add to that: Miskovic had his third multi-point game of the year and his first point (and goal) in five games. Fuel leading scorer Alex Lavoie had his sixth multi-point game and his first point in five games. Petrecki had his first multi-point game with the Fuel, as did Colantone.
- Cody Sharib had an assist and now has seven points in his last six games, tallying on the scoresheet in five of them.
- The Fuel’s four goals in the first period were also a season-high for goals in a period, eclipsing a pair of three-goal periods in December.
- The game saw 88 penalty minutes – 53 on Evansville – which included four misconducts, all for continuing altercations. Three came when Mike Duco and Vincent Dunn of Evansville squared off with Dylan Clarke with 3:50 left in the first. In the third, the Fuel’s Matt White and Evansville’s Nathan Moon got the game’s only fighting majors, and Moon received a misconduct.
- Special teams were just that. The Fuel scored twice on five power plays, and the PK unit killed off all five IceMen power plays, extending a streak to 17 straight kills by the Fuel. Evansville did sore its first goal three seconds after the expiration of the Fuel’s last penalty. “The power play got two and a half, getting a goal right after one expired. It’s good to see some progress there,” Hillman said. “I thought the penalty kill was pretty good. All facets were pretty good for the first two periods.”
- The game was physical, as the penalty count and number of skirmishes – three that saw matching roughing minors or fighting majors handed out – would attest. That will be key with the two teams playing again Saturday to close the weekend. “We’ve got to respond with a lot of hits tomorrow and play physical, stay with what we were doing tonight,” Schneider said. “Clarke did a great job of that today.”
- While that will be key tomorrow, it was also big in seeing the team’s evolution. “Guys like Clarke and Petrecki and Whitey and Miskovic all played huge roles for us,” Hillman said of the team’s physical play. “A couple of months ago, we might have got pushed around on a night like this, but it certainly didn’t happen tonight.”
- The Fuel are 3-0 against Evansville at home this season – all in January – and are 6-2-0 against the IceMen overall. In the franchise history, the Fuel have had a lot of success against their neighbors to the southwest, going 14-3-1 in the two years.
- The Fuel are back above the .500 mark for the second time this week, now at 22-21-2.
Adam Lapsansky-Alex Lavoie-Daniel Ciampini
Cody Sharib-Michael Colantone-Rhett Bly
Dylan Clarke-Andrew Johnston-Peter Schneider
Nick Petrecki-Zach Miskovic
Nick Mattson-Anders Franzon
Patrick Koudys-Ben Marshall
BU: Cedrick Desjardins
Scratches: Derek Roehl, Kyle Stroh (IR), Josh Brittain (IR), Dillon Fournier (IR)
Roster move: Goaltender Cedrick Desjardins suited up for the Fuel for the first time. He was loaned to the team by the New York Rangers earlier this week, and had previously played in the ECHL with the Manchester Monarchs this season. “Cedric the Entertainer” has played six NHL games, all with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Next up: The Fuel meet the IceMen again on Saturday night at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum, then will have a home-and-home with Cincinnati Feb. 5-6, starting on the banks of the Ohio River before moving to the Indiana Farmers Coliseum the next night. It will be the first of five visits by the Cyclones to the Coliseum in the Fuel’s last 11 home games.