Indy tries to rebound Sunday against GrizzliesMar 4, 2018
GAME PREVIEW: FUEL VS. GRIZZLIES
SUNDAY, MARCH 4 - 7:35 P.M.
INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM, INDIANAPOLIS
TICKETS: TICKETMASTER, INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM BOX OFFICE
BROADCAST INFO: 1070THEFAN.COM, ECHL.TV
The Story: The Indy Fuel (27-27-2-1) look to halt a three game slide Sunday afternoon as they wrap up a two-game set with the Utah Grizzlies (24-23-6-5) at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The 3:05 p.m. matinee affair comes on a Family Fun Day in Indianapolis – fans are invited to take the ice after the game for a free open skate with the Fuel. Tickets are available at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum box office and thorugh Ticketmaster.
In Saturday's series opener, Indy fell behind early and could not recover against a Grizzlies squad also in the thick of a playoff push. After surrendering a 2-0 lead in the first period, the Fuel were able to fight back to within one goal twice, but Utah pulled away with a pair of third period tallies for a 5-2 triumph. Matt Rupert and Matheson Iacopelli provided the offense for Indy in front of a large hometown crowd of 5,829.
With the loss, the Fuel (57 points) fell to four points back of the fourth place Kalamazoo Wings (61 points) for the final Kelly Cup Playoff berth in the ECHL's Central Division. The Wings, the third place Cincinnati Cyclones (66 points) and fifth place Kansas City Mavericks (60 points) were all victorious on Saturday as the battle for the Central's final two postseason spots continues to heat up. Cincinnati visits Kalamazoo Sunday afternoon, while Kansas City is idle after completing a two-game sweep of the Fort Wayne Komets.
In the Mountain Division playoff picture, Utah's victory Saturday allowed them to keep pace with the two teams they are chasing for the fourth and final playoff position. The Grizzlies (59 points) are two points back from the Tulsa Oilers for a spot in the top four, and just one point shy of the Allen Americans for fifth place.
Fuel vs. Fuel: Saturday night Étienne Marcoux became the 30th player to skate in the American Hockey League after spending time in Indianapolis. After signing a PTO with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Thursday, the rookie goaltender made his AHL debut against former teammate Collin Delia and the Fuel-affiliated Rockford IceHogs. In a duel between two puckstoppers that started the year in Indy, Delia got the upper hand, stopping 34 shots for his first AHL shutout. Marcoux stopped 19 of 21 shots in the loss.
Playing Catch Up: The Fuel have found themselves chasing games early over the last couple of weeks. Indy has surrended the first goal in five of its last seven games, falling into at least a two-goal hole on four different occasions. However, the Fuel have showed plenty of resiliency over the same span, coming back to win three of the games in which their opponent landed the first punch.
Multi-Point Inspection: Étienne Marcoux is the eighth player this season to see time in the AHL after a stint with the Fuel ... All three goaltenders from Indy's opening night roster (Marcoux, Delia, Matt Tomkins) have all played in the AHL this season ... Defenseman Robin Press stretched his franchise-record point streak to 11 games with an assist on Matt Rupert's first-period goal Friday night ... Indy has surrendered four or more goals in each of their last four games ... Forward Matt Rupert (15g, 15a) has three goals over his last three games.
Scouting Report: Indy and Utah have nearly identical offensive and defensive number this season. Both clubs are tied for 9th in the ECHL with 3.26 goals for per game, while the Fuel's 3.47 goals against per game (21st) is just a hair better than the Grizzlies' 3.48 (22nd) ... Following a three-assist performance on Friday, forward Austin Ortega (16g, 23a) has registered multiple points in seven straight games, part of a 10-game point streak ... Utah leading scorer Ryan Walters (28g, 27a) has 10 points over his last six outings (7g, 3a).