Fuel Rally to Down Heartlanders, 4-3
CORALVILLE, IA – The Iowa Heartlanders scored two goals in the second period to jump out to a two-goal advantage, but the Indy Fuel rallied with three unanswered goals in the final 3:25 of the frame to give the Fuel a 4-3 victory. Luc Brown had a goal and an assist for Indy. Tommy Parran led Iowa with a goal and an assist. The loss snapped a three-game point streak for the club.
The teams exchanged goals in the first period. The Heartlanders jumped out on top just 58 seconds into the contest when Nolan Orzeck netted his fifth goal of the season. Tanner MacMaster won a race along the half boards, gaining control of the loose puck before firing it across the crease to Orzeck who was moving in from the blueline. He fired a wrist shot that Zach Driscoll saved, but the puck trickled between his side and his blocker, rolling across the goal line to make it 1-0. For Orzeck, it was his fourth point in his last three games.
Indy tied the score a little under seven minutes later when Andrew Bellant netted his 11th goal of the season. Andrew Perrott fired a shot from point blank range that Darion Hanson saved, but Bellant was able to gain control of the rebound, wristing it into the upper corner to tie the score at one.
Iowa had been outshot in the first period, 11-5, but began to put pressure on in the second, netting two goals within the first 13 minutes of the frame. Parran put his team on top at 5:57. Kevin McKernan passed the puck up along the boards in his own end where Zach White picked it up in the neutral zone. He quickly passed it across to Parran near center ice, who sped into the Indy zone, moving to his left, then using a defenseman as a screen as he fired a wrist shot that beat Driscoll for his sixth goal of the season.
At 12:39, Brendan Robbins made this a two-goal advantage for the Heartlanders, netting his seventh goal of the season. Robbins made an absolute sniper shot, moving down the right side of the slot before lifting a wrist shot over the blocker of Driscoll and in to make it 3-1.
The Heartlanders were playing exceptionally well in their own end, but the wheels came off as the Fuel scored three goals in the span of exactly three minutes. The first came at 16:35 when Carson Rose gained control of a loose puck just outside the Heartlanders zone, speeding in before lifting a wrist shot that went past the blocker of Hanson to make it 3-2.
Just 66 seconds later the Fuel tied the score. Shane Kuzmeski fired a shot from along the half boards that Brown tipped past Hanson for his ninth goal of the year.
With 25 seconds left in the frame, Chase Lang gave his team their first lead of the contest. The Fuel were on the power-play when Brown made a cross ice pass to Lang. He sped down toward the goal line, then swept across the crease, lifting a backhand shot over the shoulder of Hanson to make it 4-3.
Iowa simply could not generate enough offense in this game, taking just 22 shots in the contest. Driscoll saved the remaining 11 shots of the game, finishing with 19 saves overall. Hanson stopped 28 in the loss.
The Iowa Heartlanders (12-26-11) will welcome the Kalamazoo Wings (20-25-4) on Friday. The puck drops at 7:05.
by Robert Pannier