Fuel and Komets wrap up season series Saturday in IndianapolisMar 31, 2018
GAME PREVIEW: FUEL VS. KOMETS
SATURDAY, MARCH 31 - 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 (33-29-4-1) continue their push toward their first Kelly Cup Playoff berth in franchise history Saturday as they host the Fort Wayne Komets (44-18-5-1) at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
The regular season finale between the Hoosier State rivals takes place on Made In America Night in Indianapolis, with the Fuel donning special USA-themed jerseys. Fans can win a game-worn jersey in a live auction after the final horn, with proceeds benefitting the Bosma Foundation. Tickets are still available at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum box office and through Ticketmaster.
With a momentous 6-3 win over Kansas City on Friday, Indy leapfrogged over the Mavericks into fifth place in the Central Division. With five games left to play in the regular season, the Fuel trail the Kalamazoo Wings by three points for the fourth and final playoff berth in the division. Indy does hold a game in hand on both Kalamazoo and Kansas City, and will meet both teams one more time during the final week of the season.
The trio of Logan Nelson, Michael Neal and Josh Shalla each netted a pair of goals in Friday's victory, with Nelson and Neal finishing with four-point nights. After taking a 1-0 lead into the first intermission, the Fuel broke the game open with three second-period tallies, including a pair of power play goals.
With four games left in their schedule, Fort Wayne is all but assured of the second seed in the Central Division playoff picture. Though they have picked up points in six of their last eight games (3-2-3-0), the Komets have not registered a regulation win since March 10. Six of Fort Wayne's last eight games have gone into overtime, with the Komets holding a 3-3 record in those contests.
After rallying for a sudden-death victory over Kansas City on Wednesday night, Fort Wayne fell 3-2 in extra time to Cincinnati Friday night at U.S. Bank Arena, in a likely first-round playoff preview. Following Saturday's game in Indianapolis, the Komets close out their schedule with a three-in-three next weekend, starting in Toledo Friday before hosting Wheeling and Cincinnati.
CENTRAL DIVISION STANDINGS
|1||x - Toledo||3||48||16||3||2||101||47|
|2||x - Fort Wayne||4||44||18||5||1||94||43|
(Top four teams qualify for the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs, x - clinched playoff berth)
Multi-Point Inspection: Friday was the second time this season two different Fuel players logged four points in the same game. The feat was last accomplished on Feb. 22 during Indy's 8-7 win over Quad City, with Darian Dziurzynski (2g, 2a) and Josh Shalla (4a) collecting four points apiece ... Forward Logan Nelson (7g, 23a) has three goals and four assists over his last five games ... Shalla (22g, 21a) has registered a goal in six of Indy's last eight games, tallying 11 total points (8g, 3a) over that span ... The Fuel power play is ranked first in the ECHL both on home ice (26.6%) and overall (22.7%).
Inside The Matchup: The Fuel have a 2-6 record against the Komets this season, heading into the ninth and final meeting in 2017-18. Indy hung on to an early lead en route to a 3-2 victory over the Hoosier State rival in the last meeting last Friday at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
Fort Wayne forwards Shawn Szydlowski (7g, 4a) and Gabriel Desjardins (4g, 7a) are tied for the series lead with 11 points each, while Fuel forward Josh Shalla has continued to be a thorn in the Komets' side, tallying six goals and two assists in just five games against the crosstown rival.
Scouting Report: Forward Garrett Thompson (29g, 41a) has points in four straight games (3g, 3a), including a hat trick on March 24 against Wichita ... Forward Shawn Szydlowski (30g, 47a) has a five point lead on Cincinnati's Jesse Schultz in the ECHL scoring race ... Fort Wayne's +50 goal differential in the third period leads the league.