Indy visits Mike Duco and the surging IceMen
- Updated: December 18, 2015
Morellis Cleaners Game Preview: Fuel at IceMen
Friday, December 18, 2015
8:15 p.m. – Ford Center, Evansville, Ind.
Broadcast Info: CBS Sports 1430, ECHL.TV, @IndyFuel
A familiar face awaits the Indy Fuel (10-13-2-0) this weekend during a back-to-back series against the Evansville IceMen (9-13-2-0) beginning Friday night at Ford Center. The 8:15 p.m. ET puck drop will be the Fuel’s first against former captain Mike Duco, who signed with the IceMen Thursday. Friday’s contest – the first of a three-game weekend for Indy – will be broadcast live on CBS Sports 1430 AM and ECHL.TV. For up-to-the-minute news and updates from Evansville, follow the Fuel on Twitter (@IndyFuel).
Duco comes to the IceMen after beginning the 2015-16 season in the United Kingdom as a member of the EIHL’s Sheffield Steelers. The forward played 63 games in a Fuel uniform last season, ranking third in scoring with 36 points (17g, 19a) and first with 113 penalty minutes. After his signing became official Thursday afternoon, Duco picked up a goal in his Evansville debut that same evening in a 6-5 overtime loss to the Atlanta Gladiators
Indy heads into the doubleheader at Ford Center looking to rebound from a tough outing in Toledo on Wednesday morning. Four unanswered goals from the Walleye sealed a 5-1 loss for the Fuel in a school-day game at Huntington Center, the second loss in a row for a club that has struggled to earn points over the last month. Indy has one win out of their last 12 games dating back to Nov. 21, and enters the weekend series with just a two-point cushion over the IceMen at the bottom of the Midwest Division.
Scoring the Fuel’s only goal in Toledo was Peter Schneider, who made his return to the lineup after missing eight games to injury. The speedy rookie will try to kick-start an Indy scoring offense that has struggled to produce as of late. The Fuel have been held to two or fewer on the scoreboard in 11 of their last 12 games; ranking 27th of 28 teams with 2.36 goals for per game. Three seems to be the magic number for Indy – the club has a 9-1-1-0 record when netting three or more goals.
While offense has been at a premium recently for the Fuel, it has come in droves for their next opponent. A resurgent Evansville squad has scored at least three goals in seven-straight games, putting five or more past opposing goaltenders in five of those seven outings. After a 3-9-0-0 start, the IceMen have fired their way right back into the mix in the Midwest Division, picking up points in five of their last six contests (3-1-2-0).
However, just as Evansville has been able to rack up the offensive numbers, the team’s opponents have done the same. The IceMen have surrendered 3.67 goals against per game, the most in the ECHL.
Inside The Matchup: The Fuel and IceMen have met three times already in 2015-16, all taking place at Ford Center. Indy took the first two meetings by a combined 6-1 score, before Evansville grabbed a 4-2 win on Nov. 6. After this weekend’s doubleheader in southwest Indiana, the next five legs of the 11-game season series will take place at Indiana Farmers Coliseum, beginning with a back-to-back set on Jan. 8-9. Indy has dominated the all-time series, holding a 10-2-1-0 record against the in-state rival. The IceMen’s victory on Nov. 6 broke a nine-game Fuel winning streak over the Ottawa Senators affiliate.
Who To Watch: Fuel defenseman Ben Marshall (2g, 12) has points in three of his last four games, notching the primary assist on Indy’s lone goal on Wednesday in Toledo. The rookie has four points (1g, 3a) in three games against Evansville this season, leading all players in the season series … Forward Dylan Clarke (6g, 11a) has averaged a point a game across his last four outings (1g, 3a), and has two goals and an assist against the IceMen this year.
Evansville forward Tyson Fawcett (15g, 4a) has racked up 10 points (7g, 3a) over his last seven games and has found the scoresheet in four-straight contests (5g, 2a) … Fawcett’s lineman Daulton Leveille (14g, 5a) has scored a goal in nine of his last 12 games, and has piled up nine points over his last seven outings (7g, 2a). Leveille’s four game-winning goals is tied with Quad City’s Raphael Bussieres for the most in the ECHL. Fawcett and Leveille occupy the top two spots in the league goal-scoring race.
Worth Noting: Indy signed center Derek Roehl to a SPC Thursday. Roehl spent the last three seasons playing in France, the UK and Italy … The Fuel have outshot their opponents in five of their last six games, but are 1-4-0-0 over that stretch when leading on the shot chart. Overall this season Indy holds a 3-7-0-0 record when outshooting their opponent and is 6-4-2-0 when getting outshot … Forward Kyle Stroh has no goals and only two assists over his last 12 games … The Fuel penalty kill is ranked fourth (86.6%) in the ECHL overall and is fifth-best on the road (87.2%) … Evansville owns the league’s top overall power play unit (22.8%), but their efficiency rate on home ice (15.4%) ranks 20th out of 28 teams … The IceMen’s 32 goals scored in the second period is tops in the ECHL … Defenseman Troy Rutkowski’s 18 points (3g, 15a) has him sixth among league rearguards.