By Michael Duddy, PhotoTaylorSports
No, we haven’t entered an alternate universe. The Indy Fuel merely spent the weekend in Ohio. It was a sold-out game Saturday night at US Bank Arena in Cincinnati…the largest crowd ever, in fact. More than 16,500 fans came to watch the ECHL Midwest Division rivals duke it out. And, duke it out, they did. Ultimately, a shootout was necessary in order to settle the score!
Rookie forward Daniel Ciampini kicked things off for Indy with an impressive breakaway goal at 7:34 into the first period. Just to show they weren’t messing around, Michael Colantone deposited a second period goal at 15:56, bringing the Fuel’s lead to 2-0. But, wait. Cincinnati’s Colin Mulvey wasn’t having it, and responded 21 seconds later with Cinci’s first goal of the game.
Indy goaltender Keegan Asmundson blocked an incredible 31 shots throughout regulation, but then gravity got the best of him near the end of the third and allowed the Cyclone’s ever-wily Colin Mulvey to sneak in the tying goal. Asmundson most definitely redeemed himself during overtime, though, blocking two more shots and forcing a shootout.
Not unlike the way he started the evening off, Ciampini proved his worth, yet again, by sinking the only goal of the needed shootout, giving the Indy Fuel their 3-2 victory in front of the record crowd. Sorry Cincinnati!
Is that fish I smell? No, it’s only Toledo.
Fresh off their Saturday night victory in Ohio’s Southern region, the Fuel packed it up and headed north early Sunday for an afternoon game at Toledo’s Huntington Center. Indy had their work cut out for them, hoping to sneak into eighth place and into the Western Conference Playoffs. No small task, seeing that Toledo had already won 11 straight games on their home turf…er, ice.
I’m guessing that Ciampini and Asmundson were still pretty amped-up, but perhaps stayed up too late celebrating; because, things didn’t go as well as the night before. It took Toledo until 12:07 of the first to find the net, when the Walleye’s AJ Jenks managed to get one past Asmundson. Not to be outdone, Ciampini responded a mere 47 seconds later, and insisted on scoring his 10th goal of the season!
The Walleye floundered until 17:09 of the second period, at which time Josh Shalla exploited the empty space above Asmundson’s pads, and scored what would become the game winning goal. A power play late in the third combined with Asmundson being pulled from the net gave the Indy Fuel a 6-on-4 advantage. But to no avail. Toledo pulled it off…a 12 home-game winning streak…and Indy remains in 9th place, but with 15 games to go!
Next: Utah Grizzlies @ Indianapolis, Friday, March 4th