Game 54: Fuel at Orlando

The Indy Fuel hadn’t been in a shootout for a long time – three months, in fact.

But it was like riding a bike for Shane Owen and the Fuel, who stayed perfect on the year in the penalty shot contest and gave the Fuel a big 3-2 victory over the Orlando Solar Bears to cap a six-game roadtrip.

The Fuel took two of three from Orlando and went 2-4-0 on the trip – with all four losses coming by one goal. The Fuel will return home Tuesday to face the league-leading Missouri Mavericks.

Ben Marshall scored in the fifth round of the shootout and Owen stuffed Orlando’s Eric Baier to give the Fuel the victory. Rhett Bly opened the shootout with a goal, which was matched by Orlando’s Patrick Watling. Owen then stopped the next two shots – as did Orlando’s Rob Madore – to send the shootout into sudden death. Both teams had misses in the fourth round before Marshall finished the game off.

The two teams played through a scoreless first before Cody Sharib gave Indy a lead with his 12th goal of the season. Madore made the initial save on Alex Lavoie’s shot from the high slot, but the puck slipped through him and Sharib poked it into the net 3:10 into the second.

Orlando’s Brady Vail scored a power play goal midway through the period, but the Fuel came right back. Lavoie intercepted a breakout pass in the high slot and scored to re-take the lead with 6:32 left in the second. His goal came just 56 seconds after Vail’s goal.

Indy took a 2-1 lead into the third period, but the high-powered Orlando offense found the equalizer as Jack Rodewald scored 1:08 into the period to tie it at 2-2. Owen and Madore kept it even from there – Owen made 11 third-period saves, Madore nine.

In OT, the Fuel had two power plays, but Orlando was able to kill both as Madore stopped five shots to send the game to the shootout, where the Fuel came away a winner.

Indy is now 26-26-2, and the victory puts the Fuel back into playoff position in the Western Conference with 18 games to play. The Fuel are in eighth place, three points back of seventh-place Cincinnati.

Boxscore

3 stars

  1. Alex Lavoie (Fuel) G, A
  2. Ben Marshall (Fuel) SO winner
  3. Brady Vail (ORL) G, A

Takeaways

  1. After sticking with pretty consistent lines for the last three weeks, coach Scott Hillman shuffled the forward lines going into Saturday’s game, and it paid off. The new trio of Cody Sharib, Alex Lavoie and Dylan Clarke came away +2 and was on the ice for both Fuel goals.
  2. Lavoie loves Florida. He had four goals and an assist in the three games in Orlando, and had two-point games in both of the Fuel’s wins. He has points in seven of his last 10 games, and became the first Fuel player this season to break the 40-point mark.
  3. Cody Sharib also has goals in back-to-back games, and has 12 goals on the season.
  4. The Fuel’s scoring balance is tremendous – four active players have at least 12 goals, and team leader Rhett Bly has 14. Adam Lapsansky and Michael Colantone, two midseason signees, would be on that pace as well, as they have six and seven goals, respectively, in half as many games. Counting Daniel Ciampini – who was recently called up to the AHL – the Fuel have six forwards and one defenseman – Marshall – with at least 20 points.
  5. Shane Owen continues to be the Fuel’s workhorse. He’s started three straight games, and has played in 11 of the team’s last 12.
  6. This game marked the Fuel’s third shootout of the year – only Colorado (which has played none) has fewer. Indy has won all three – and prior to tonight, had not allowed a goal in the shootout. The Fuel’s goaltenders are now 10-of-11 on shootout attempts, the best record in the league. Owen is 2-0 in the shootout.

Lineup

Adam Lapsansky-Brandon Wong-Peter Schneider
Dylan Clarke-Alex Lavoie-Cody Sharib
Michael Colantone-Matt White-Rhett Bly

Nick Petrecki-Zach Miskovic
Ben Marshall-Anders Franzon
Patrick Koudys-Sam Jardine
Trevor Campbell

Shane Owen
BU: Keegan Asmundson

Scratches: Andrew Johnston

Roster move: The Fuel claimed forward Casey Thrush off waivers from South Carolina. Thrush started the season in the Fuel’s training camp, and has two goals and three assists in 16 games this season with Allen and South Carolina. He had 25 points in 40 games last year as a senior with the University of New Hampshire. The claim gives the Fuel 11 active forwards and seven defensemen.

Next up: The Fuel host the Missouri Mavericks on Tuesday with a 7:05 p.m. puck drop at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.