MacMaster Helpers Spur Heartlanders to Victory
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Iowa Heartlanders had been unable to find their way into the win column when they headed on the road, beginning the season 0-13-7. However, the team has suddenly caught fire away from Iowa, winning three of their last four road contests, including a 4-2 victory over the Indy Fuel on Friday. Tanner MacMaster had three assists and Darion Hanson stopped 33 shots for his first victory since joining the Heartlanders.
Tommy Parrottino put Iowa on the board 29 seconds into the contest. MacMaster won a battle for the puck behind the net, passing it in front to Parrottino, who was draped all over by a Fuel defenseman. He was able to spin his body around while controlling the puck with one hand on his stick, lifting a backhand shot past Mitchell Weeks for his team-leading 13th goal of the year.
A little less than six minutes later Nolan Orzeck extended the lead to two. MacMaster won a battle for loose puck near the left face-off circle inside the Indy zone, then found Orzeck moving down the right side of the slot. He took the pass, then lifting a wrist shot to the far post that beat Weeks for his fourth goal of the year.
The Fuel got back into the contest when Cameron Hillis scored at 10:16 of the second frame. Andrew Perrott fired a shot from the point that Hanson saved, but Hillis put in the rebound for his 15th tally of the season.
The Heartlanders clung to the one goal advantage through two periods, despite being outshot 27-12. They then scored two goals in the third period, putting this contest away.
The first came at 6:17 when James Sanchez scored his seventh goal of the season. With Iowa on the power-play, MacMaster moved down the left side of the boards, passing the puck across the slot to Sanchez who fired a wrist shot past Weeks to make it 3-1. MacMaster earned his third assist of the game on the play.
At 13:09, Carson Rose delivered a shorthanded goal to pull the Fuel back within one. An errant pass inside the Indy zone went into the neutral zone where Hillis outraced an Iowa defenseman for the puck. He entered the zone, then found Rose moving down the slot, firing a perfect pass that his teammate tipped by Hanson.
The Fuel were within one, and continued to pressure the Heartlanders, but Zach White sealed the victory with an empty net tally with 44 seconds left in the game. It was the eighth goal of the season for White.
Orzeck and Sanchez each had a goal and an assist for the Heartlanders. Hillis had a goal and an assist for the Fuel.
The Iowa Heartlanders (10-24-10) will try to keep their road hot streak going as they travel to Toledo to take on the Walleye (26-15-6) on Saturday. The puck drops at 6:15 Iowa time.
by Robert Pannier