Fuel and Wings open doubleheader in Kalamazoo

Jan 27, 2018






The Story: The Indy Fuel (17-19-2-1) head to Wings Event Center Saturday night to begin a pivitol two-game set with the Kalamazoo Wings (22-14-2-2). Puck drop from Michigan is set for 7:00 p.m. ET, with coverage coming live on 1070TheFan.com/IndyFuel and though ECHL.TV.

Indy enters the weekend doubleheader with Kalamazoo 11 points back of the Wings for possession of fourth place in the Central Divison standings and playoff positioning. Continuing a four-game road swing, the Fuel are coming off of a huge 5-4 overtime victory in Cincinnati on Friday. A three-goal second period helped Indy battle back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits, before Ryan Rupert's strike 31 seconds into the extra session clinched the two points for the Fuel.

Playing three games in three days on home ice, Kalamazoo began the weekend with a 7-4 victory over the Fort Wayne Komets Friday, opening up a three point lead over the fifth-place Cyclones in the standings. Kyle Blaney marked three of his four points in the third period to help the Wings bust open a 4-4 deadlock, as Kalamazoo improved to 9-3-0-1 over its last 13 games. 

Working Overtime: With Ryan Rupert's walk-off winner in Cincinnati, the Fuel picked up their first overtime victory since a 4-3 win against the Cyclones in Indianapolis on March 24, 2016. Indy had dropped six straight games decided in the bonus period prior to Friday, including three last season and two in the first month of the 2017-18 campaign.

The overtime win in Cincinnati was just the fifth time the Fuel ventured beyond regulation time this season, and the first since a 2-1 extra time loss in Quad City on Nov. 12. Indy improves to 1-2 in games decided in overtime, and 1-1 in shootout decisions.

Extra Man Bonanza: Indy's second-ranked power play unit took another step forward Friday, scoring twice on six opportunites against the Cyclones. The Fuel have now scored at least once with the man advantage in six straight games, humming at a lethal 31.0% clip during that span (9-for-29). The 32 power play goals the Fuel have scored through 39 games this season have already eclipsed their season total of 28 from the 2016-17 season. 

Seeing Double: The twin brother pairing of Ryan and Matt Rupert have regained their scoring stride over the past couple of weeks. Over the Fuel's last 10 outings, the Ruperts have combined for five goals and 13 assists; Ryan has racked up 11 points (3g, 8a) over that span while Matt added two goals and five assists.

Multi Point Inspection: Ryan Rupert (7g, 18a) leads the Fuel with four power play goals, though eight players on the Indy roster have tallied at least three times with the extra man this season ... Forward Darian Dziurzynski (10g, 9a) has goals in back to back games, and is on a point-per-game pace through his last seven contests (4g, 3a) ... Defenseman Nolan Descoteaux (1g, 15a) tallied three assists Friday and Cincinnati, giving him six helpers over his last four outings.

Inside the Matchup: The 2017-18 season series between the Fuel and Wings is tied at two wins apiece heading into the weekend doubleheader. Saturday marks the third of seven straight meetings at Wings Event Center, after the Central Divison rivals split two games at Indiana Farmers Coliseum to begin the season. In their previous encounter on Sunday, Kalamazoo jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead en route to a 6-2 win over Indy.

Wings forward Justin Taylor leads the season series with five points (2g, 3a) in four games against the Fuel – all three assists coming on Sunday. Darian Dziurzynski's two goals and two assists pace Indy against Kalamazoo. 

Scouting Report: Wings forward Tyler Biggs (15g, 14a) has notched goals in four straight games heading into Saturday's contest ... Kyle Blaney (6g, 22a) has 10 points (3g, 7a) over his last five outings ... Justin Taylor's 24 goals ranks tied for second in the ECHL, behind Colorado's Michael Joly (32).


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