Fuel and Walleye open season series Saturday
FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL VS. WALLEYEOct 20, 2018
FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL VS. WALLEYE
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20 - 7:35 P.M.
INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM, INDIANAPOLIS
TICKETS: TICKETMASTER, INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM BOX OFFICE
BROADCAST INFO: INDYFUELHOCKEY.COM, ECHL.TV
THE MATCHUP: The Indy Fuel (2-1-0-0) close out a four-game season-opening homestand Saturday as they welcome the defending Central Division champion Toledo Walleye to Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The first of eight meetings between Indy and Toledo this season is set for a 7:35 p.m. puck drop.
LAST TIME OUT: The Fuel opened a weekend doubleheader on home ice Friday by grabbing their second consecutive victory, downing the Cincinnati Cyclones by a 4-1 margin. Two goals from 2017-18 leading scorer Josh Shalla and a sturdy 39-save performance from goaltender Matt Tomkins helped Indy hand Cincinnati its first loss of the campaign. Matt Rupert and Robert Powers also found the net for the Fuel, who climbed atop the Central Division standings with the victory.
TOMMER TIME: The Cyclones hit the ground running in Friday's contest, but netminder Matt Tomkins was equal to the task. The second-year goaltender recorded his second consecutive win after turning aside 39 of 40 Cincinnati shots, including 16 saves in the first period. Through three starts, Tomkins boasts a 2.35 goals against average and a .929 save percentage.
SANDWICH STANZA DOMINANCE: For the second straight game, Indy was able to seize momentum with a strong second period performance. After scoring five times in the middle frame during last Saturday's 8-4 win over Kalamazoo, the Fuel used three second-period tallies to swing a 1-1 tie in their favor. Over the last two contests, Indy has outscored its opponents by a 8-2 margin in the second period.
PLAYOFF REMATCH: Saturday night marks the first meeting between the Fuel and Walleye since the two clubs clashed in the opening round of the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs this April. Making its first-ever postseason appearance, Indy fell to Toledo four games to none in a series that was played much closer than the end result might have indicated. Two of Toledo's four victories came in double overtime, and the other two were one-goal games in the third period.
SCOUTING THE FISH: Toledo enters the 2018-19 campaign a much different-looking team than the squad the Fuel met in the Central Division Semifinals. Only seven players return from the 2017-18 Walleye roster, including forwards A.J. Jenks and Shane Berschbach, defenseman Kevin Tansey and goaltender Pat Nagle. While past standouts Kyle Bonis, Simon Denis and Tyler Barnes departed in the offseason, Toledo responded with a number of notable additions, including former NHL forward T.J. Hensick and two-time defending Defenseman of the Year Matt Register.