The Indy Fuel have been no stranger to third-period rallies.
Indy again had a late goal Thursday in Orlando, but couldn’t complete a comeback from a pair of two-goal deficits in a 3-2 loss to the host Solar Bears.
The two teams have split the first two games of the three-game series, with the rubber match set for Saturday night in Orlando. That contest will cap a season-long six-game roadtrip for the Fuel. So far, the Fuel are 1-4-0 on the trip, with all four losses coming by one goal.
Thursday’s game was a back-and-forth, end-to-end affair that saw Orlando outshoot Indy 47-45. The Solar Bears’ Rob Madore stopped 43 shots, and the Fuel’s Shane Owen made 44 saves.
Orlando’s Brady Vail opened the scoring midway through the first, tallying his third goal in two nights. Austin Block added his fourth goal of the year with 1:53 left in the first to give the Solar Bears a 2-0 lead.
The second period belonged to Indy – and Madore. The Fuel fired 23 shots at his net, and he stopped 22. Alex Lavoie drove the center lane with Cody Sharib carrying the puck down the left wing. Sharib put the puck on his tape and Lavoie tipped it in for his third goal in two days and his 12th of the year with 2:36 left in the period.
Orlando carried the play early in the third, but Indy had a shot to tie the game with a power play midway through the period. However, the Solar Bears’ Johnny McInnis scored on a shorthanded breakwaway to make it 3-1. Cody Sharib made it 3-2 with a rocket with 3:25 left, and the Fuel pushed for the equalizer. Peter Schneider had the best chance in the final minute, but Madore covered the missive.
- Rob Madore (ORL) 43/45 saves
- Johnny McInnis (ORL) SHG
- Austin Block (ORL) G, 6 shots
- Orlando likes to play an offensive game, but 92 total shots on goal is a paradise of end-to-end hockey. Shane Owen had to be very good – and was – to give his team a chance to win.
- Alex Lavoie has made a home in the state where he played a year ago – for the Fort Myers-based Florida Everblades – with three goals in two games. But Indy has made great use of driving the center lane in both games for goals. Brandon Wong had a pair of goals on Wednesday in the same fashion.
- McInnis’ shorthanded game-winner was Orlando’s 10th shorty of the year – tying the Solar Bears for the league lead. Indy has allowed six. It was his second shorthanded goal of the season.
- With a goal and an assist, Cody Sharib had his first multi-point game since Jan. 23.
- Rhett Bly saw his scoring streak snapped, but he had eight shots on goal for the Fuel.
- Ben Marshall and Cody Sharib were both +2 on the day to lead the Fuel.
- Indy was 3-for-3 on the penalty kill – snapping a four-game streak of power play goals against. Orlando was also 3-for-3.
- The Fuel are now 7-7-0 in the second game of a back-to-back against the same team. The Fuel have three more back-t0-backs remaining this season.
Adam Lapsansky-Alex Lavoie-Andrew Johnston
Cody Sharib-Michael Colantone-Rhett Bly
Dylan Clarke-Brandon Wong-Peter Schneider
Nick Petrecki-Zach Miskovic
Ben Marshall-Anders Franzon
Patrick Koudys-Sam Jardine
BU: Keegan Asmundson
Scratches: Trevor Campbell
Roster move: Rockford called up F Daniel Ciampini prior to the game.
Next up: The Fuel and Solar Bears complete their three-game set in Orlando Saturday night.