Thomas Fuels Indy Victory in OT, 4-3
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Jared Thomas scored 2:45 into overtime to give the Indy Fuel a 4-3 victory over the Iowa Heartlanders on Saturday evening. Despite the loss, Iowa now has points in four straight games (1-0-3), mowing the team to 11-17-5, three points behind the Fuel for fourth place in the Central Division. Jake Smith remained red-hot, scoring a goal, his seventh in the last four games.
Indy jumped out in front 4:12 into the first frame when Jan Mandát scored his first goal of the night. Mike Lee moved to the puck back to Mandát at the point, who slid across the blueline waiting for a screen to develop before firing a shot by Heartlanders netminder Corbin Kaczperski for his sixth goal of the year.
The early deficit seemed to light a fire under Iowa, as they responded with two goals in the span of 1:18 to take the lead. The first came at 8:17 when Jeff Solow took a shot that was saved by Mitch Gillam, but the rebound came right to Connor Graham, who tucked it past the Fuel goaltender for his second goal of the season.
At 9:35, Smith struck for his eighth goal of the year. Fedor Gordeev fed the puck ahead to Smith in the neutral zone, who moved down the boards, sweeping in toward the face-off circle before firing a blistering wrist shot that beat Gillam to the far post, putting the Heartlanders on top 2-1.
Iowa held the one goal lead through the first intermission, but Indy dominated the second period, outshooting the Heartlanders 14-4. That helped them to add a pair of goals to put them on top heading to the second break.
The first came at 1:44 when Ryan Zuhlsdorf netted his first goal of the season. Thomas moved the puck to Zuhlsdorf at the right face-off circle, who did not hesitate before lifting a wrist shot by the Iowa netminder.
With a little over two minutes left in the frame, Mandát struck for his second goal of the night. Kirill Chaika made a great pass out of his own end and onto the stick of Mandát, sending him in on a breakaway. Mandát waited for Kaczperski to go down before lifting a wrist shot over his shoulder to put Indy on top by a goal.
That lead held for over 16 minutes in the third period before Adrien Beraldo put Iowa back on the board. Jack Billings moved to the puck back to Beraldo, who waited for a screen to develop before blasting a slapshot that beat Gillam for his third goal of the year. Smith earned an assist on the play, giving him 13 points in 18 games.
That sent the contest overtime where Thomas would win it a little less than three minutes into the frame. Keoni Texeira passed the puck to Thomas who looked like he was going to his forehand, then pulled the puck back, tucking it inside the post to beat Kaczperski and give the Fuel a 4-3 victory.
These teams will go at it again on Sunday. Opening face-off is scheduled for 2:00.
By Robert Pannier