On Wednesday June 2, the Indy Fuel faced off against the Kansas City Mavericks in the final home game of the regular season. All the Fuel needed was a victory to secure their spot in the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
The Fuel came out strong to start the game, as they managed to control much of the game’s opening period. Just six minutes into the first frame, Antoine Waked tapped in a shot from Jordan Schneider, this giving the home team an early 1-0 lead. Despite outshooting the Mavericks 21-5, Indy would take their one goal lead into the first intermission.
Just a minute and a half into the second period, the Fuel went on to double their lead when a shot from Josh Dickinson found the back of the net. Just moments later, Tommy Apap would bury the puck after finding a rebound, this putting Indy up 3-0. All of three minutes later, Nic Pierog jumped on a Kansas City turnover and beat Mavericks goaltender Andrew Shortridge on a breakaway. That increased his team’s lead, going ahead 4-0. Halfway through the period, Kansas City would find the scoresheet after Nic Pierog was sent off to the penalty box. A shot from Marcus Crawford would beat Billy Christopoulos, thus allowing the visitors their only goal of the game.
Carrying their 4-1 lead into the third, the Fuel would create a number of chances, however, couldn’t find a path to put the puck in past Shortridge. With under seven minutes to play in the final frame, Indy would find themselves back on the power play, with Willie Corrin in the box for interference. The Fuel would capitalize on the man advantage, taking a 5-1 lead thanks to Spencer Watson, who increased their lead to 5-1 over Kansas City.
Earning a well deserved victory, Indy clinched a berth in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. In doing so, it’s just the second time in franchise history that the Fuel have qualified for the postseason. With this win, the Fuel have also tied their franchise record for most wins in a season.
Following Orlando’s June 3rd victory over the South Carolina Stingrays, Indy has secured the No. 3 seed and will face the No. 2 seed Greenville Swamp Rabbits in the first round.