Fuel and Mallards open three-game set in Indianapolis ThursdayFeb 22, 2018
GAME PREVIEW: FUEL VS. MALLARDS
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22 - 7:05 P.M.
INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM, INDIANAPOLIS
TICKETS: TICKETMASTER, INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM BOX OFFICE
BROADCAST INFO: 1070THEFAN.COM, ECHL.TV
The Story: The Indy Fuel (24-24-2-1) continue their homestand at Indiana Farmers Coliseum as they welcome the Quad City Mallards (19-28-3-1) Thursday for the first of a three-game set in the Circle City.
Puck drop between the Central Division rivals is set for 7:05 p.m., as the Fuel host another All-You-Can-Eat night. All fans who purchase a game ticket can enjoy limitless hot dogs, burgers, nachos and popcorn for free. Tickets are available at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum box office or through Ticketmaster.
Indy pulled even closer to the Central Division playoff picture Tuesday as they defeated the Cincinnati Cyclones 3-2 in the club's first-ever Education Day Game. In front of an early-morning crowd of over 5,100 fans and students, the Fuel erased a 2-0 deficit with a pair of second period goals, before Ryan Rupert tabbed the go-ahead goal in the first minute of the third. Matt Tomkins turned aside 38 shots as Indy took a huge two points in its first game at Indiana Farmers Coliseum since Feb. 3.
With Tuesday's win, the Fuel (51 points) are now just a single point back from the fifth-place Kansas City Mavericks, and just seven points behind the Cyclones for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central. Twenty-one games remain on Indy's 2017-18 schedule, with 14 of them taking place on home ice and all but four coming against divsional foes.
Continuing the push up the standings will be no easy task this weekend, as Indy squares off against a resurgent Quad City squad. After falling to the ECHL's basement after a dismal two month stretch from December to January – where they picked up only three wins over a 21-game span – the Mallards have now won eight of their last 11 games heading into Thursday night's action. Picking up six of eight possible points in four contests last week, Quad City is coming off a 4-3 triumph over the Toledo Walleye on Sunday afternoon.
That Special Feeling: Key in Tuesday's win over Cincinnati was the dominance of the Fuel's special teams. Indy was a perfect 2-for-2 with the man advantage, while holding the top-ranked Cyclones power play scoreless in five opportunities. The Fuel have now taken over first place in power play efficiency at 21.4%, while remaining in the ECHL's top 10 on the penalty kill at 84.0%.
Pressing Matters: Defenseman Robin Press (7g, 16a) has been piling up the offensive numbers in recent weeks for Indy. With a goal and an assist on Tuesday, the Swedish blueliner has now found the scoresheet in five straight games, tallying two goals and four assists over that span, along with a plus-6 rating. In 19 games since being reassigned to the Fuel on Jan. 8, Press has recorded seven goals and 10 assists.
Multi Point Inspection: On home ice, the Fuel rank second on the power play at 23.3% and fifth on the penalty kill at 87.7%. ... Forward Alex Wideman (10g, 15a) has registered a point in all four games since being reassigned to Indy on Feb. 16 ... Indy is 5-1-0-0 at home when tied after two periods ... Forward Josh Shalla (13g, 11a) has registered points in eight of his last nine games (4g, 7a).
Inside the Matchup: Thursday is the ninth of 11 meetings between the Fuel and Mallards this season, and the third of five to take place at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The Central Division rivals have each won four games from the 2017-18 season series, which wraps up with this weekends' tripleheader in Indianapolis.
Indy has won four of its last five meetings against Quad City, most recently in a 4-1 victory at TaxSlayer Center on Feb. 9. The Mallards are making their first visit to the Circle City since Dec. 14, a game the Fuel won 2-1.
Scouting Report: Defenseman Willie Raskob (2g, 27a) ranks second among active league rookies with 27 assists this season, including seven in eight games against Indy ... Forward Gergo Nagy (7g, 12a) enters Thursday on a five game point streak (2g, 6a) ... Goaltender C.J. Motte has a 4-1 record over his last five starts, stopping at least 34 shots in each.