Being quick off the draw can win hockey games.
But so does bouncing back when facing a little bit of adversity.
The Indy Fuel did both on Thursday night. Alex Lavoie fed Daniel Ciampini directly off an offensive-zone faceoff for the overtime winner to give the Fuel a 4-3 victory over the Cincinnati Cyclones at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. But the Fuel also bounced back from a slow start and rallied twice from surrendering a lead.
After Cincinnati took a 2-1 lead in the second period, Indy responded just 17 seconds later to tie the game on the first of Lavoie’s two goals. And when the Cyclones tied it with 55 seconds left, the Fuel came back to dominate the overtime period before Ciampini scored at 2:08 of the extra session.
“”We just pushed back. Every time they scored, we didn’t get down,” Ciampini said, crediting the Fuel’s team leaders for setting the tone throughout the night. “We continued playing with pace, we kept pushing the pace. We wanted to dictate the pace in the overtime. That’s what we did. We managed the puck very well in overtime.”
Lavoie had two goals and an assist to hit the 50-point mark for the season. Ciampini had a goal and two assists and Cody Sharib scored the game’s first goal – a tally, like the winner, coming directly off a faceoff.
The overtime winner came right after Cincinnati’s Andy Iles made his fourth save of the period – a high-glove snare on Michael Colantone’s screaming one-timer from the mid-slot. Lavoie won the draw and pushed it to Ciampini in front of the net for the goal – and the third point for each on the night.
“The center was cheating a little bit, so I pushed it on the left,” Lavoie said. “I saw Ciampini alone, he shot it and it squeaked under. It’s a great feeling to win.”
It also came shortly after Cincinnati tied the game in the final minute with the extra attacker, as Tommy Mele scored his second goal of the game, coming moments after the Cyclones had thwarted a pair of Fuel opportunities at the vacant net.
“It’s a fast game, they’re a good team,” Ciampini said. “You give them space, that’s what happens. Those two points are huge – we got one (with the tie score in regulation). The leadership did a good job of ensuring we needed to get the second one, as well. They were awesome all game.”
Mele also had a three-point night – he tied the game 1:23 into the second by scoring on the power play after Fuel netminder Keegan Asmundson had stuffed a wraparound chance and the rebound, and then assisted on Brandon Gracel’s go-ahead goal with 4:13 left in the second.
Indy again had an answer. The trio of Lavoie, Ciampini and Peter Schneider – which was put together mid-game – tied it when Ben Marshall fired a shot from the point. The puck came to Lavoie behind the net, who banked it off Iles’ pads and into the goal 17 seconds after Gracel had given his team a lead.
“I saw the goalie was in front, I shot it off his pads, his leg and it went in,” Lavoie said.
Lavoie gave the Fuel a lead with 6:49 left in the game on a quick re-entry. Cincinnati had cleared the zone on a puck that rimmed around the wall and hopped over a pinching Fuel defenseman’s stick. Marshall collected the puck at center, spun it back up the ice to Ciampini, who won the puck and headmanned it to Schneider. On a 2-on-1, Schneider drew the goaltender and fed Lavoie for a tap-in.
“That’s what we want to do,” Fuel interim head coach Bernie John said. “We want our defensemen getting quick ups and getting it up-ice as quickly as we can so we can get going with speed and get them caught with their skates pointed the wrong way. It was a great play – we made a great play off the wall and Schneids made a great play to Lavvy into the open net.”
In the opening period, Cincinnati had the jump early, outshooting the Fuel 5-0 in the first 10 minutes despite an early Fuel power play. Indy then held an 11-2 shot edge for the remainder of the period, and took an early lead off a faceoff. Matt White drew the puck back to Kevin Clare. Cody Sharib deflected Clare’s point shot into the net for his 15th goal of the season.
Two of the four goals came directly off draws.
“That’s a key part of hockey,” John said. “If you can win the face-offs, you can get the puck first. Early, (Cincinnati) had some chances, some set plays that we made adjustments on as the game went on. Face-offs are key. Those guys beard down. Faceoffs are a five-man thing – you want everyone on the same page, go get the puck and get everybody on the attack.”
The two teams play a rematch Friday at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum with the puck dropping at 7:35 p.m., as Indy will look to get closer in the playoff chase.
“Let’s concentrate on the game tomorrow and try to do the same thing,” Lavoie said.
- Daniel Ciampini (Fuel) GWG, 2A, +2, 6 shots
- Alex Lavoie (Fuel) 2G, A, +2, 4 shots
- Tommy Mele (CIN) 2G, A, +1, 3 shots
- With the Fuel in a playoff push – they currently stand six points behind eighth-place Tulsa with six games to play – every point is critical. Ciampini won an NCAA championship two years ago with Union College, where the Dutchmen had to win several win-or-go-home games – several as an underdog – to claim the title.”That’s what we were saying when we were on that run – we controlled our own destiny,” Ciampini said. “We don’t want to look too far ahead – tonight’s over with. We have to start in preparation for tomorrow’s game, and take it one game at a time. We’re going to make a push. We can’t worry about what everyone else is doing, we have to worry about ourselves. The leadership did a great job tonight – they have been all year, but especially tonight. They’ve been a big part of our success.”
- After starting the game with Casey Thrush on left wing with Lavoie and Ciampini, John moved Schneider to that line and it paid dividends, as the trio combined for 14 shots, three goals, seven points and was a combined +5. “(Lavoie and Ciampini) need a speed guy with them – they’re playmakers,” John said. “The need a guy who will drive the net, get the puck first, get them the puck so they can create and use their minds and hockey skills to make plays. That line was very good.”
- Lavoie tallied his fourth two-goal game of the year, and first since Feb. 17 in Orlando. It was his first three-point contest of the season. Ciampini had his first three-point game since Jan. 29 against Evansville. “They’re both guys who skate,” Lavoie said of his linemates. “Ciampini has really good vision and Schneids always goes 100 miles an hour. It’s a good chemistry for sure.”
- The Fuel are now 6-3-0 against Cincinnati and have clinched the season series with two games to play. Indy has clinched winning records against three of its four division foes.
- After a slow start, the Fuel turned it on at the end of the first – outshooting Cincinnati 11-2 over the final half of the period. Indy again took command in the third, with a 15-6 shot edge and a similar territorial advantage. “When you look at the game, the first six, seven minutes, we did’t start really quick. The second was kind of slow. In the third, I thought we played well. We really took over. Credit to the guys for battling back hard,” John said.
- One other turning point was a fight between Nick Petrecki and Cincinnati’s Jonathan Diaby – a pair of heavyweights who both threw haymakers in one of the longest and most entertaining bouts of the year. Petrecki stands 6-3, 240; Diaby 6-4, 225. “I think the fight was big,” John said. :We were starting a little slow, and that got the bench up and going. That’s a leader for you – he feels that, he takes charge and gets things going, doing it the hard way.”
- Both teams collapsed and blocked a lot of shots, keeping the opponent’s play to the perimeter, which made finding those opportunities difficult in the cycle. “We like to collapse tight,” John said. “We’ll allow shots from the perimeter. The first six minutes, we were a little lax. We were soft on pucks, and then we clamped down a little bit. A lot of their stuff was from the perimeter. We were better as we got on.”
- Fuel goaltender Keegan Asmundson made 19 saves in the victory. He is now 3-0-0 against Cincinnati in a Fuel sweater this season.
- Sharib’s goal extended his streak of games with a point to three straight. Ben Marshall had an assist to extend his scoring streak to four games. Matt White now has assists in two straight.
- Cincinnati was 1-for-2 on the power play. The Fuel were 0-for-3 – snapping a streak of three games with a power play goal.
These were the lines in warmups, although they changed during the night, as Schneider moved up to skate with Ciampini and Lavoie for much of the game, and Michael Colantone moved to the line with Clarke and Wong.
Casey Thrush-Alex Lavoie-Daniel Ciampini
Dylan Clarke-Brandon Wong-Peter Schneider
Cody Sharib-Matt White-Rhett Bly
Sam Jardine-Zach Miskovic
Nick Petrecki-Anders Franzon
Kevin Clare-Ben Marshall
BU: Terry Shafer
Scratches: Patrick Koudys, Trevor Campbell, Mike Seidel (IR), Dillon Fournier (IR)
Roster moves: On Wednesday, defenseman Nick Mattson was called up to Rockford and the Fuel signed goaltender Terry Shafer from Robert Morris.
Next up: The Fuel and Cyclones play a rematch at 7:35 p.m. Friday night.