Fuel and Wings square off Saturday in the Circle City

FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL VS. WINGS

Mar 2, 2019
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FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL VS. WINGS

SATURDAY, MARCH 2 - 7:35 PM

INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM, INDIANAPOLIS

TICKETS: TICKETMASTER

BROADCAST INFO: INDYFUELHOCKEY.COMECHL.TV

THE MATCHUP: On the heels of a tough loss on Friday, the Indy Fuel (26-26-2-1) look to rebound in a critical matchup against the Kalamazoo Wings (29-23-2-1) Saturday night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Tickets still remain for the 7:35 p.m. ET puck drop between the Central Division foes, and are available at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum box office or online through Ticketmaster.

After coming up short to the league-leading Cincinnati Cyclones Friday night at U.S. Bank Arena, the Fuel return home Saturday in need of a win to stay in the Central Division playoff race. Indy is now six points back from the Wings and Fort Wayne Komets for possession of one of the final two spots in the postseason, with just 17 games left to play. With 55 points, the Fuel are at the bottom of the Central standings, three points behind the fifth-place Wheeling Nailers – who picked up a 5-2 win in Toledo on Friday.

Indy has a chance to pull closer to Kalamazoo Friday as they meet for the first of three final showdowns in 2018-19. The Fuel have the upper hand in the season series entering Saturday's action with a 5-4-0-0 record, though the Wings have won three of the last four encounters between the division rivals. Indy has won two of the three prior meetings taking place at Indiana Farmers Coliseum, but Kalamazoo grabbed a 4-2 triumph in its last visit to Central Indiana on Feb. 8.

Fuel forward Ryan Rupert tops both teams with 13 points (6g, 7a) in nine games, while Radovan Bondra leads the season series with eight assists. Wings forward Tanner Sorenson paces all active Kalamazoo players with four goals and seven assists in seven games against Indy. 

LAST TIME OUT: The league-leading Cincinnati Cyclones broke open a 4-2 game with a four-goal third period, routing the Fuel 8-2 Friday night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The Cyclones tallied four power play goals over the last 10 minutes of regulation to pull away with the home victory, with Pascal Aquin (2g, 2a) and Vasili Glotov (1g, 3a) each tallying four points. Josh Shalla and Woody Hudson tallied back-to-back goals in the second period to cut into a 3-0 deficit, but Indy was unable to get any closer. 

NEARING A MILESTONE: With his next point, Fuel forward Josh Shalla will reach the 300-point plateau in his ECHL career. The seven-year veteran enters Saturday's game with 155 goals and 144 assists in 357 career ECHL contests split between Indy, Wheeling, Toledo and Cincinnati. With 23 goals and 23 assists in 52 games this season, Shalla is four points away from hitting the 50-point threshold for the third straight season.

WINGS FLYING HIGH: One of the ECHL's most dangerous teams since the All-Star break, the Wings arrive to Indiana Farmers Coliseum looking to maintain their hold on one of the top four spots in the Central Division. With points in seven of its last 10 (6-3-1-0), Kalamazoo boasts one of the league's most potent offenses – scoring at least four goals in five of the club's last eight outings. The Wings have a tough schedule to close out the regular season, with 11 of its final 17 games coming on the road.

OTHER NOTABLES: Indy defenseman Alex Brooks extended a point streak to five games with an assist Friday in Cincinnati (1g, 4a) ... Wings goaltender Jake Hildebrand saw a 12 game unbeaten streak snapped Friday against Fort Wayne ... Fuel forward Brett Welychka picked up an assist in his return to the lineup Friday, after being reassigned to Indy from AHL Rockford ... Josh Shalla has scored a goal in three straight games. 

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