Fuel look to maintain playoff hopes Saturday against ToledoApr 7, 2018
GAME PREVIEW: FUEL VS. WALLEYE
SATURDAY, APRIL 7 - 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 (35-30-4-1) continue a season-ending homestand at Indiana Farmers Coliseum Saturday night with a critical showdown against the Toledo Walleye. With just two games left on their 2017-18 schedule, Indy is looking for at least a point Saturday in order to set up a winner-moves-on match-up tomorrow afternoon against the Kalamazoo Wings.
Saturday is Fan Appreciation Night in Indianapolis presented by Indiana Donor Network. Plenty of prize giveaways in store for those in attendance – including a Nitro bobblehead for the first 1,200 fans through the gates. Tickets are still available through Ticketmaster and the Indiana Farmers Coliseum box office.
In a stretch of three straight home games to wrap up the season, Indy saw a seven-game point streak come to an end Friday during a 5-2 setback to the Cincinnati Cyclones. After the Fuel took a 1-0 lead into the second period, Cincinnati roared back with four goals in the middle frame to build a two-goal lead, before capping the game off with a late empty-netter. Matt Rupert and Johnny McInnis each tallied a goal and an assist for Indy, which dropped into a share of fourth place in the Central Division thanks to Kalamazoo picking up a point in Quad City.
The Fuel head into Saturday's regular season finale looking to stay in the race for the fourth Kelly Cup Playoff berth in the Central Division. An Indy regulation loss paired with a Kalamazoo regulation or overtime win against Brampton Saturday will eliminate the Fuel from postseason contention, but any points gained by Indy or lost by Kalamazoo will mean a playoff spot will be on the line Sunday afternoon at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
Meanwhile, the Toledo Walleye have locked up the Central Division title and will meet either Indy or Kalamazoo in the first round. The Walleye arrive in Indianapolis to wrap up their regular season slate, falling 5-2 to Fort Wayne on Friday night.
CENTRAL DIVISION STANDINGS
|1||xy - Toledo||1||49||17||3||2||103||48|
|2||x - Fort Wayne||2||45||19||5||1||94||45|
|3||x - Cincinnati||2||39||28||3||0||81||37|
(Top four teams qualify for the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs, x - clinched playoff berth, y - clinched division)
The Scenarios: With Kansas City being eliminated from playoff contention Friday, the race for fourth place is down to the Fuel and Kalamazoo. The Fuel will not be able to clinch a playoff spot until Sunday afternoon, while Kalamazoo can clinch with a regulation/overtime win against Brampton plus an Indy regulation loss against Toledo.
If that does not happen, there are three potential scenarios that could lead up to Sunday's finale. If Indy enters Sunday two points up on Kalamazoo, the Fuel can clinch fourth place with any point on Sunday. If the Fuel have a one point edge or are tied heading into Sunday, a victory of any fashion over the Wings will put them into the playoffs. If Kalamazoo enters the final day with a one point lead, Indy will need a regulation victory Sunday to finish in fourth place.
Multi-Point Inspection: Friday snapped a streak of seven straight games where the Fuel had tallied a power play goal ... Indy forward Josh Shalla has 12 points over his last nine games (10g, 2a) ... The Fuel are 14-0-1-0 when leading after two on home ice this season.
Inside The Matchup: The Fuel and Walleye close out their nine game season series Saturday in what could be a preview of the Central Division Semifinals. Indy brings in a record of 1-6-1-0 against Toledo, and are winless through five games at Indiana Farmers Coliseum (0-4-1-0). In the last meeting between the two clubs on March 17, the Walleye rallied from a 3-0 deficit to force overtime before defeating the Fuel 4-3 at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
Walleye forward Kyle Bonis leads the season series with 11 points (4g, 7a) in seven games, while Fuel forward Matt Rupert (2g, 6a) and defenseman Robin Press (1g, 7a) have each tallied eight points this season against Toledo. In seven appearances against Indy this season, goaltender Pat Nagle has a 6-0 record alongside a 2.30 GAA and a .930 SV%.
Scouting Report: Toledo ranks second in the ECHL in team defense, allowing only 2.34 goals against per game ... Forwards Kyle Bonis (27g, 24a) and Tyler Barnes (20g, 32a) have combined for five of the Walleye's last seven game-winning goals ... Forward Shane Berschbach (19g, 30a) has points in six straight games (4g, 3a).