Fuel wrap up weekend with matinee against the Mallards
- Updated: March 19, 2017
Morellis Cleaners Game Preview: Fuel vs. Mallards
Sunday, March 19, 2017
3:05 p.m. – Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Indianapolis
Tickets: Ticketmaster, Indiana Farmers Coliseum Box Office
Broadcast Info: CBS Sports 1430, ECHL.TV, @IndyFuel
The Indy Fuel (17-39-3-3) play their third game in as many days Sunday as the Quad City Mallards (35-23-2-2) visit for an afternoon affair at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. It’s another Family Fun Day, so fans are invited to take the ice after the game for a free open skate with their favorite Fuel players. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster or by visiting the Indiana Farmers Coliseum box office.
Indy heads into the last game of their weekend tripleheader after splitting a home-and-home set with the Kalamazoo Wings. The Fuel grabbed a comeback victory Friday night at Wings Event Center, before Kalamazoo responded with a 5-1 win Saturday at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Goaltender Eric Levine kept things close for Indy with a brilliant 40-save performance, before two late goals – one on an empty net – helped the Wings pull away. Jake Marchment accounted for the Fuel’s lone goal in the third period, his second tally in as many games.
With just ten games left on their schedule, the Fuel are looking to keep moving in the right direction as they welcome Quad City Sunday. Indy has picked up points in three of its last five games overall, but have only one win from its last 10 games on home ice (1-7-1-1). Sunday is the Fuel’s last test at Indiana Farmers Coliseum before the club embarks on a four game road swing, beginning next weekend in Greenville and South Carolina and wrapping up on March 31 in Toledo. As of Sunday morning, Indy is still tied for sixth in the Central Division with the Wichita Thunder with 40 points, though the Thunder have two games in hand.
On the other side, Quad City can clinch a Kelly Cup Playoff berth with a point against the Fuel, or a loss from the Tulsa Oilers. With 74 points, the Mallards are trying to hang on to the third seed in the Central, where they currently sit four points ahead of the Kalamazoo Wings. Quad City is seven points back from the Fort Wayne Komets – its first round opponent if the current standings hold – for second place in the Division.
The Mallards have just one regulation loss in their last eight games (5-1-2-0), and are coming off of a pair of home victories over the Missouri Mavericks this weekend; winning 3-2 on Friday night and 5-0 Saturday. Since Phil Axtell took over head coaching duties on Jan. 20, Quad City is 16-7-2-0. A well-balanced offensive attack is one of the primary reasons for the Mallards’ recent success – Quad City has scored three or more goals in six consecutive games and now boasts six players with over 40 points on the season.
Inside the Matchup: The Fuel and Mallards square off Sunday for the ninth of ten times in 2016-17, the fifth of six meetings in Indianapolis. Quad City has won all but one of the first eight games in the season series this year, outscoring the Fuel by a total of 18-4 in the previous three. The Mallards took a 6-1 victory on March 4 in the previous encounter between the two clubs at iWireless Center, and swept a two game set from Jan. 28-29 the last time the two teams met in Indianapolis. Quad City holds a 10-8 edge in the all-time series against Indy, while the Fuel are 5-4-0-0 all time at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. However, Indy is 0-4 against the Mallards on home ice this season.
Mallards forward Chris Francis leads the season series with five goals and six assists in eight games, while Alex Wideman’s nine points (3g, 6a) paces the Fuel against Quad City. In six starts against Indy, All-Star goaltender C.J. Motte has compiled a 5-1 record alongside a 2.28 goals against average and a .928 save percentage.
Who to Watch: Forward Jake Marchment (13g, 18a) has scored goals in both games this weekend, tallying the game-tying goal in Friday’s win in Kalamazoo before accounting for Indy’s lone marker on Saturday … Kenton Helgesen (4g, 14a) provided an assist on each of Marchment’s goals, giving the forward one goal and four assists in seven total games played for the Fuel … Over his last five games, Michael Neal (7g, 4a) has racked up six goals and two assists.
Mallards forward Justin Kovacs (15g, 34a) has strung together three goals and 10 assists across his previous eight games … Josh MacDonald (23g, 29a)has marked assists in three of his last four outings, and leads Quad City in scoring with 52 points – 37 of them coming as a member of the Rapid City Rush … Goaltender Adam Vay has picked up the win in each of the Mallards’ victories over Missouri this weekend, stopping 59 of 61 shots (.967 SV%).
Worth Noting: Indy enters Sunday with a 1-9-0-0 record this season when playing the the third game in as many days, and are just 1-7 on home ice when closing out a 3-in-3 … Quad City is 4-2 overall this season when playing the final game of a three-game set, including a 2-1 mark on the road … The Fuel are 7-16-1-3 this year against Central Division opponents … Mallards goaltender Adam Vay has allowed two or fewer goals in four of his last five starts … Indy’s 87 third period goals allowed is second to only Rapid City (92) … Quad City forward Michael Parks (23g, 25a) ranks seventh in ECHL rookie scoring with 48 points … Forward Woody Hudson and defenseman Jack Burton each made their professional debuts for Indy Saturday night after being added to the roster earlier in the day. Each player finished with a -1 rating, while Hudson registered a shot on net.