Fuel make first visit to Kalamazoo Thursday

Dec 28, 2017






The Story: The Indy Fuel (9-15-2-1) look to find a cure for their road struggles Thursday as they visit the Kalamazoo Wings (13-9-2-1). Puck drop from Wings Event Center is set for 7:00 ET, with live coverage coming via 1070TheFan.com/IndyFuel. 

Continuing a post-Christmas stretch of four games in five nights, the Fuel make their first trip to Kalamazoo this season looking to snap a seven game winless skid away from home (0-5-1-1). Indy has just one road win this season in 12 tries; a 5-2 triumph over the Florida Everblades back on Oct. 27. 

The Fuel's most recent setback came Wednesday night at Huntington Center, as they fell 5-2 to the Toledo Walleye. In the club's first action following the holiday break, Indy could not overcome a two-goal swing in the second period, as Toledo turned a 1-1 tie into a 3-1 cushion heading into the third. Étienne Marcoux turned in another strong performance in the Fuel net, turning aside 38 saves in the loss.

On the other side, the Wings have found their stride over the month of December, coming into Thursday's game with points in seven of their last eight games (6-1-1-0). Kalamazoo has been especially strong on home ice this season, posting a 9-3-1-1 mark at Wings Event Center through their first 14 appearances.

Taking the ice for the first time since downing Toledo 4-1 at home back on Dec. 22, the Wings currently sit at 29 points – four points behind the fourth-place Kansas City Mavericks, but eight in front of the Fuel in sixth position.

Open Wides: After only netting a pair of assists during an eight game span from Nov. 24 to Dec. 14, Alex Wideman (8g, 11a) is getting his offesive groove back. The forward scored last night in Toledo, extending a point streak to five games (2g, 3a). Wideman's 19 points is tied for the team scoring lead, alongside Cam Reid.

Milestone Watch: Wednesday night in Toledo was the 200th career professional game for Fuel defenseman Nolan Descoteaux. If he draws into the lineup in Kalamazoo, tonight will mark the 100th straight game for forward Matt Rupert. Rupert was the only player to suit up for all 72 games for Indy last year, and he has seen action in all 27 contests so far in 2017-18.

Inside the Matchup: Indy is making its first trip of the season to Wings Event Center as the 2017-18 season series shifts to Michigan. Beginning Thursday, Kalamazoo will be the location for each of the next six encounters between the Fuel and Wings, before the two clubs close out the series back in Indianapolis on April 8. 

Indy and Kalamazoo split the first two meetings of the season, with Kalamazoo earning a 2-1 win the last time the teams faced off back on Dec. 20. The Fuel opened the series with a 6-2 victory on Nov. 17.

In the all-time series between the Division rivals, Indy holds a 6-6-1-0 mark, including a 1-4-0-0 record in Kalamazoo. The Fuel went 1-1-0-0 in two trips to Wings Event Center last season.

Scouting Report: Wings forward Justin Taylor (15g, 12a) marked a hat trick in his team's 4-1 win over Toledo on Dec. 22, and has seven goals in his last four games ... Defenseman Kyle Bushee (5g, 15a) has chipped in an assist in five straight games entering Thursday's game.


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