The Indy Fuel got a little sun and a lot of goals Wednesday night, scoring twice in the first period and three more in the second to beat the Orlando Solar Bears 5-3 in the Amway Arena.
Newcomer Brandon Wong tallied a four-point night with two goals and two assists, while Alex Lavoie scored twice to help stake Indy to a five-goal lead in the first of their three-game set with the Solar Bears.
Shane Owen stopped 32 shots in the Fuel net to record the victory in-between the blue pipes.
The two teams play again Thursday night in Orlando, then after yielding the arena to the NBA’s Magic for an evening, conclude their three-game set – and the Fuel’s longest roadtrip of the season – on Saturday.
Wong tallied his first goal midway through the first period. Peter Schneider brought the puck into the zone on the right wing and fed Dylan Clarke with a cross-ice pass to the left circle. Clarke then fed Wong in front for a tip past the Solar Bears’ Ryan Massa.
With 3:51 left and the Fuel on the power play, Lavoie executed a perfect give-and-go with Wong, with Lavoie feeding his veteran teammate below the goal line, then one-timing the return pass into the net.
Indy dominated the first period both on the ice – with a 12-5 shot edge and a 2-1 edge in power plays – and the scoreboard, with a two-goal lead.
Indy kept the foot on the gas pedal in the second and quickly grew the lead. Twenty seconds into the team’s third power play of the night, Rhett Bly scored his team-leading 14th goal of the year at 7:19 of the period. He corralled Zach Miskovic’s point shot in the middle of the box, turned and fired it into the net for a three-goal lead and chasing Massa. Lavoie made it a 4-0 game on a breakaway just 1:46 later on new netminder Rob Madore, with what would turn out to be the game-winning goal.
Wong capped a four-point game with a goal in the final five minutes of the second, again driving the middle lane and tapping in a cross-ice feed, this time from Matt White.
Johnny McInnis scored a late second-period goal for the Solar Bears to cut the lead to 5-1, and Orlando got two goals from Brady Vail – one a power play goal in the closing seconds – to set the final margin at 5-3.
Indy outshot Orlando 18-12 in the second period and held a 30-17 shot edge for the first two periods. Orlando had 18 shots in the third and 35 for the game. In the Solar Bears net, Massa stopped 16 of 19 shots, and Madore stopped 16 of 18, as the Fuel outshot their hosts 37-35.
Indy was 2-4 on the power play, while Orlando was 1-4.
- Brandon Wong (Fuel) 2G, 2A, 3 shots
- Alex Lavoie (Fuel) 2G, 3 shots
- Brady Vail (ORL) 2G, 6 shots
- Brandon Wong has been a scorer throughout his career – he’s potted 20 goals in every pro season he’s played, both in the ECHL and in Europe – and he tallied his first two goals in his fourth game with the Fuel. It was his first two-goal game since Jan. 11, 2015, and his first four-point game since Dec. 26, 2014, both while playing with Evansville. Both of his goals came from driving the center lane and getting open to redirect a linemate’s perfect pass.
- Wong’s game marked the Fuel’s first four-point game since Adam Lapsansky had a goal and three assists and Peter Schneider two goals and two assists in the Fuel’s 7-3 win over Evansville on Jan. 29.
- The Fuel have now scored at least three goals in eight of their last 11 games – winning seven such contests. The Fuel tallied five goals in regulation for the fifth time this season, and are 4-0-1 in those games.
- Indy had two power play goals, and has had a power play tally in three of the last four games.
- The victory snapped a five-game winless streak on the road.
- Alex Lavoie also had his first two-goal game since Nov. 29. He’s the Fuel’s leading scorer, and his 10th and 11th goals now give him 37 points for the year. He is the fifth player – the fourth currently active – to tally double-digit goals for the Fuel this season.
- Rhett Bly extended his team lead for goals with 14, and now has tallied a point in four straight games, six of the last seven, and 13 of the last 16. Zach Miskovic also has a point streak going, with tallies in three straight games.
- With two assists, Dylan Clarke had his first two-point game since Dec. 12.
- The victory moved the Fuel into a tie with Colorado for the last playoff position in the ECHL’s Western Conference with 52 points. Indy is 25-25-2 with 20 games left in the season — 11 at home.
Adam Lapsansky-Alex Lavoie-Daniel Ciampini
Dylan Clarke-Brandon Wong-Peter Schneider
Cody Sharib-Michael Colantone-Rhett Bly
Nick Petrecki-Zach Miskovic
Ben Marshall-Anders Franzon
Patrick Koudys-Sam Jardine
BU: Keegan Asmundson
Scratches: Andrew Johnston, Trevor Campbell
Roster move: On Tuesday, the Rockford IceHogs assigned D Sam Jardine to Indy. Trevor Campbell was placed on reserve prior to the game.
Next up: The same two teams in the same Orlando rink at 7 p.m. Thursday night.