Fuel close out homestand Friday against Quad CityDec 1, 2017
GAME PREVIEW: FUEL VS. MALLARDS
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 1 - 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 (4-9-2-1) look to close their six-game homestand with a victory Friday as the Quad City Mallards (7-9-1-0) visit Indiana Farmers Coliseum for the first time in 2017-18.
Tickets are still available for Autism Awareness Night presented by DAMAR Services, and can be picked up via Ticketmaster or at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum box office.
The Fuel can get back to .500 on the homestand with a victory Friday night. Indy is coming off of a pair of tough divisional losses last weekend; succumbing to a late Fort Wayne surge in a 4-2 setback to the Komets Friday, before falling 6-3 to the Kansas City Mavericks on Saturday.
Four unanswered goals from the Mavericks overcame a strong start from the Fuel on Saturday. The Fuel built 2-1 and 3-2 leads off of tallies from Michael Neal, Reed Seckel and a shorthanded goal from Ryan Rupert, but Kansas City rallied in the second half of the contest.
Indy enters the weekend in seventh place in the Central Division with 11 points, four behind the sixth-place Mallards. Seven points separate the Fuel from fourth place Fort Wayne and the Division's final postseason spot.
Another club that is looking to climb back into the Central race, Quad City arrives in Indianapolis with one win in their last six contests (1-4-1-0). Two games into a stretch of nine consecutive tests on the road, the Mallards snapped a five-game skid Sunday with a 2-0 shutout victory in Kansas City.
Back To December: The Fuel head into the final month of 2017 looking to rebound from what was a rough November. Indy finished November with six points and a 2-6-1-1 record – which included a six-game winless skid from Nov. 3 to Nov. 14. A full slate of 14 games await the Fuel in December, with eight of them coming on home ice. Ten of the 14 contests will take place against Central Division foes, including eight in a row from Dec. 14 - Dec. 30.
This Is Your Captain Scoring: Fuel captain Michael Neal (4g, 1a) is getting back into the offensive groove he ended the 2016-17 with, potting three goals last weekend in a pair of home losses. The veteran forward tallied both markers in Indy's 4-2 setback to Fort Wayne Friday, before opening the scoring Saturday against Kansas City.
Shorty Can I: Indy's penalty kill unit has been impressive on both sides of the puck this season. In addition to being ranked in the ECHL's top 10 for most of the season, the Fuel penalty kill scored its fourth shorthanded goal of the campaign last Saturday, tied for third-most in the league. In comparison, Indy only managed four shorthanded tallies in all of the 2016-17 season.
The Bad Boys of Indianapolis: The Fuel penalty kill has also been extremely busy in the first two months of the season. Indy enters Friday the fifth most-penalized team in the league, averaging 20.75 penalty minutes per game. This mark is up almost double from last season, where the Fuel finished 26th out of 27 teams in logging only 11.79 penalty mintues per game. Forward Garrett Clarke's 96 penalty mintues ranks second among all ECHL players.
Inside the Matchup: The Fuel are still looking for their first win of the season against Quad City, though the club has picked up at least a point in two of their three prior meetings in 2017-18. Friday marks the fourth of 11 meetings between the divisional rivals this season, with the Mallards winning each of the first three – all at TaxSlayer Center.
Quad City defenseman Willie Raskob leads the season series with six assists in three games against Indy, while forward Nick Bligh paces the Fuel with three goals and one assist.
Scouting Report: Forward Chris Francis looks to make his season debut for the Mallards, after being added to the club's active roster on Monday. Quad City's captain ranked third in team scoring with 60 points (27g, 33a) last season, missing the first two months of 2017-18 due to injury ... Goaltender C.J. Motte is coming off a 26-save shutout performance Sunday in Kansas City. The 2016-17 All-Star returned on Nov. 21 from a stint with the AHL's Chicago Wolves, where he posted a 1-1-1 record alongside a 2.30 goals against average and a .922 save percentage.