Fuel visit Wings in key Central Division clash

FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL AT WINGS

Dec 22, 2018
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FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL AT WINGS

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 22 - 7:30 P.M.

WINGS EVENT CENTER, KALAMAZOO, MICH.

BROADCAST INFO: INDYFUELHOCKEY.COMECHL.TV

THE MATCHUP: The Indy Fuel (13-12-0-0) head to Wings Event Center Saturday night for a key Central Division matchup. Indy's final game before the ECHL's brief holiday break is slated for a 7:30 p.m. puck drop from Michigan, with coverage coming live via ECHL.TV.

Entering's Saturday's game in sixth place in the Central Division, the Fuel (26 points) visit Kalamazoo looking to pull closer to the red-hot Wings (29 points). Winners of ten of its last 12, Kalamazoo has vaulted up the standings during the month of December, sitting just one point back from the third place Wheeling Nailers. Meanwhile the Fuel – 5-5-0-0 over their last 10 contests – are still searching for a way to get away from the .500 mark on the season. 

The Fuel hold a 2-1 lead in the season series against the Wings, though the home team has won each of the first three meetings between the two clubs. After Indy took the first two encounters from Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Kalamazoo responded with a 5-3 victory at Wings Event Center on Dec. 7. 

LAST TIME OUT: Indy's four game winning streak at Indiana Farmers Coliseum came to an end as the Toledo Walleye seized a 6-5 come-from-behind victory on Friday night. The Walleye rallied from a 4-3 deficit with three unanswered goals in the third period, with A.J. Jenks scoring the go-ahead goal on a penalty shot with under four minutes left in regulation. Mathew Thompson recorded four points (2g, 2a) in the loss for the Fuel, while Kevin Dufour (2g) and Olivier Labelle each (2a) chipped in multiple points as well. Goaltender Matt Tomkins stopped 29 shots, as his four-game winning streak was snapped.

MAT'S BIG NIGHT: Toledo's late comeback spoiled what was a career night for Fuel forward Mathew Thompson. Making his return to the lineup after missing a pair of games to injury, the rookie exploded for a career-high four points, marking two goals and two assists. In 23 games this season, the product of Adrian College has six goals and 11 assists, with his 17 points leading all Fuel first-year players. 

OPPORTUNITISTS: Friday was the second straight game where the Fuel were able to make the most of limited scoring opportunities. During last Saturday's 5-4 win over Tulsa and yesterday's loss to the Walleye, Indy scored 10 goals on only 40 shots, a team shooting percentage of 25%. Overall this season, the Fuel rank 25th out of 27 ECHL teams in shot generation, averaging only 28 per game. 

OTHER NOTABLES: The line combo of Mathew Thompson, Olivier Labelle and Kevin Dufour combined for four goals and four assists on Friday ... Dufour has registered points in seven of his last eight games, picking up five goals and four assists over that span ... Ryan Rupert's first period goal on Friday snapped an eight game goal scoring drought ... A.J. Jenks' goal came on the fourth penalty shot Indy has faced so far this season.

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