Fuel begin busy week in Wheeling

Dec 11, 2017






The Story: The surging Indy Fuel (7-10-2-1) kick off a busy stretch Tuesday with a trip to WesBanco Arena to take on the Wheeling Nailers (13-9-2-0). Fans back in Indianapolis can catch the action from West Virginia on 1070TheFan.com, with puck drop slated for 7:05 p.m. ET.

The Fuel begin a stretch of four games in five days riding the momentum from one of their strongest weekends of the season. Indy extended a home winning streak to three games with victories against two division-leading teams; the Fuel skated to a 3-2 triumph over Wheeling on Friday before pounding the Wichita Thunder 7-1 Saturday night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.

Michael Neal and Cam Reid each netted a pair of goals during Indy's dismantling of the first-place Thunder, with Nathan Noel (1g, 1a) and Ryan Rupert (2a) also logging multi-point outings. Leading 3-1 after one period, the Fuel used a four-goal barrage in the second period to secure their third win in four games.

With the four-point weekend, Indy pulls into a sixth-place tie with the Quad City Mallards in the Central Division standings – both teams five points shy of the Kalamazoo Wings in fifth place.

Meanwhile, the Nailers return to WesBanco Arena after snapping a three game skid Saturday night with a 4-2 win in Toledo. Two goals from Jarrett Burton helped Wheeling rebound from the club's loss in Indy the night before.

Holiday Rush: Tuesday marks the beginning of a grueling stretch of four games in five days for the Fuel – all part of what will be a hectic second half of December. After the visit to Wheeling, Indy hosts Quad City on Thursday, before a home-and-home set with the Fort Wayne Komets begins Friday in Allen County.

In all, the Fuel will play 10 games in 20 days from tonight to New Year's Eve, with an even split between home and road dates. All but two of Indy's remaining December games – both against the Nailers – will come against Central Division opponents.

Captain Clutch: Forward Michael Neal turned in his second straight multi-point performance Saturday against Wichita. After tallying a goal and an assist in Friday's win over Wheeling, the Fuel captain found the net twice against the Thunder – including the Teddy Bear Toss goal just 2:51 into play. With six goals in his last six games, Neal is tied for the Indy team lead with seven markers on the season.

PK (on) Fire: Another factor in Indy's two-game sweep over the weekend was the strong play of its shorthanded unit. The Fuel held the top two ranked power plays in the league scoreless, going 6-for-6 on the penalty kill during the two victories. Overall, Indy has killed off 12 straight power plays, a streak that spans the club's last four games. 

Inside the Matchup: The five game season series between the Fuel and Nailers shifts to West Virginia for the final three, after the two clubs split a pair of matchups in Indianapolis. Wheeling picked up a 5-1 triumph on Nov. 5, while the Fuel were 3-2 winners on Friday.

Nailers forwards Reid Gardiner (2g, 1a) and Cody Wydo (3a) share the series lead with three points apiece, while Tommy Olczyk has scored a goal in both prior meetings with Wheeling this season.

Scouting Report: Nailers forward Hunter Fejes (13g, 6a) leads Wheeling in goal scoring, finding the net in six of his last eight games ... Rookie forward Troy Josephs (1g, 2a) has three points in his last two games, including two assists Friday against the Fuel.


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