Fuel and Mavericks face off Tuesday in Indianapolis

FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL VS. MAVERICKS

Jan 8, 2019
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FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL VS. MAVERICKS

TUESDAY, JANUARY 8 - 7:05 P.M.

INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM, INDIANAPOLIS

TICKETS: TICKETMASTER, INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM BOX OFFICE

BROADCAST INFO: INDYFUELHOCKEY.COMECHL.TV

THE MATCHUP: The Indy Fuel (18-16-0-0) begin another busy four-game week Tuesday night as they welcome the Kansas City Mavericks (18-13-1-1) to Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The 7:05 p.m. ET showdown is a Pepsi $2 Tuesday in the Circle City, as fans can enjoy $2 beers, soft drinks and special food options throughout the arena. 

After finishing a three-in-three weekend with a tough-luck 3-2 loss in Fort Wayne on Saturday, the Fuel return for the first of two consecutive tests on home ice. Following Tuesday's tilt with Kansas City, Indy will host Komets on Friday before closing the weekend with a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader against the Wheeling Nailers at WesBanco Arena.

Winners of five of their last eight games, the Fuel enter Week 14 of the ECHL schedule in a fourth-place tie with the Nailers in the Central Division standings with 36 points apiece. Both clubs sit just three points shy of the Komets for a share of third place, while holding a five-point cushion over the sixth-place Kalamazoo Wings.

Indy and Kansas City have split the first two meetings of the four-game season series between the former divisional rivals. Home ice has been a factor, with the Mavericks taking a commanding 7-2 victory back on Oct. 27 in Independence, Mo. before the Fuel answered with a 4-3 shootout win in Indianapolis on Dec. 4. Following Tuesday's game, the two clubs will not meet again until the penultimate weekend of the 2018-19 regular season, when the Mavericks return to Central Indiana on March 31. 

LAST TIME OUT: The Fuel could not find their way out of an early deficit Saturday as the club's three-game weekend came to an end with a 3-2 loss to the Komets at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Fort Wayne built a 2-0 lead in the first period and never relinquished the lead, even as Indy kept things close with tallies from Brett Welychka and Quentin Shore. Komets goaltender Zachary Fucale remained unbeaten against the Fuel with 25 saves, as Indy fell to 1-3 against the Hoosier State rivals this season.

THAT MID-SEASON GRIND: With just two days rest since wrapping up a string of seven games in 10 days Saturday in Fort Wayne, the Fuel play the first of four games in six nights Tuesday against Kansas City. Indy is in the middle of a grueling post-Christmas portion of their schedule that sees the club play 14 times in an 18-day span from Dec. 27 to Jan. 13. Tuesday also marks the start of the third of five consecutive weeks where the Fuel are asked to play three games in three days; the first of three straight featuring a Friday-Saturday-Sunday tripleheader. 

SOMEBODY ONCE TOLD ME...: The ECHL announced the rosters for the 2019 CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic on Monday afternoon, and Fuel defenseman Neil Manning was selected to represent the Western Conference. Reassigned back to Indy from AHL Rockford on Monday, Manning leads all Fuel blueliners with 17 points in 29 games, while his +10 rating ranks second on the roster. The third-year defenseman becomes the fourth player in Indy franchise history to be selected to participate in the league's midseason showcase, joining Alex Wideman in 2017 and Michael Neal and Étienne Marcoux in 2018. 

Manning and the Western Conference All-Stars will face off against the Eastern Conference and two teams of Toledo Walleye players during the 2019 CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic on Monday, January 21 at the Huntington Center in Toledo. The four teams will compete in a 3-on-3 mini tournament with rally scoring being used to select a winner. 

CHECKING ON THE PONIES: Just like the Fuel, the Mavericks head into Tuesday's game tied for the final playoff position in their division. With 38 points in 33 games, Kansas City finds itself even with the Wichita Thunder for possession of fourth place in the Mountain Division, though the Mavericks have played four fewer games than Wichita. Since they last made the trip to Indianapolis on Dec. 4, the Calgary Flames affiliate has gone 6-8-0-1, losing eight of their last 12 coming into Week 14. Kansas City is coming off a two-game split with the Rapid City Rush on home ice over the weekend, picking up a 6-4 win on Friday before falling 4-1 the following night. 

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