Fuel begin crucial road trip Friday in MolineFeb 9, 2018
GAME PREVIEW: FUEL AT MALLARDS
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 9 - 8:05 P.M.
TAXSLAYER CENTER, MOLINE, ILL.
BROADCAST INFO: 1070THEFAN.COM, ECHL.TV
The Story: The Indy Fuel (19-21-2-1) kick off a season-long seven game road trip Friday night with a showdown with the Quad City Mallards at TaxSlayer Center. Puck drop between the two Central Division rivals is set for 8:05 p.m. ET from Moline, Ill., with live coverage beginning at 7:45 at 1070TheFan.com/IndyFuel and ECHL.TV.
The Fuel make their final visit to the Quad Cities this season to begin a critical three-game weekend, which continues Saturday and Sunday in Kalamazoo. Entering the weekend 11 points behind the Kansas City Mavericks and Cincinnati Cyclones for the fourth and final playoff berth, Indy is looking to keep pace in the Central Division race.
Ranked sixth in the Central with 41 points, the Fuel will try to bounce back from a pair of losses last weekend as they tangle with the seventh-place Mallards. Indy suffered a 7-3 setback in Wheeling last Friday, before a third-period comeback came just short in a hard-fought 4-2 loss to Toledo at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
After registering just one victory in a 16-game span from Dec. 8 to Jan. 13, Quad City has now picked up points in seven of its last nine games (6-2-1) heading into Friday. The Mallards are a perfect 4-0 during their current six-game homestand, defeating the Tulsa Oilers 4-3 in a shootout in their last outing on Tuesday.
Puck-Stopper Shuffle: The Fuel received reinforcements on the back end Thursday when goaltenders Étienne Marcoux and Matt Tomkins both returned from their AHL assignments. Marcoux was released from his PTO with the Springfield Thunderbirds, while Tomkins rejoins the team after spending the last six weeks with the Rockford IceHogs. The rookie tandem have combined for 17 of Indy's 19 victories this season.
How Swede it Is: Defenseman Robin Press (5g, 10a) continued his torrid offensive pace Saturday, scoring a third-period goal during Indy's 4-2 loss to Toledo. The blueliner has now tallied three goals and two assists over his last four outings, picking up nine of his 15 points this season since being reassigned from Rockford on Jan. 8.
Multi Point Inspection: Forward Ryan Rupert (9g, 20a) has four goals and five assists over his last eight games ... Indy is 11-0-0-1 this season when leading after two periods ... The Fuel have been outscored 5-1 in the first period during their two losses last weekend ... Forward Johnny McInnis (12g, 9a) has points in eight of his last 10 outings (5g, 3a).
Inside the Matchup: Friday is the eighth of 11 meetings between the Fuel and Mallards in 2017-18, the sixth and final taking place at TaxSlayer Center. Indy has picked up points in five of the first seven games against Quad City (3-2-1-1), and has won three of the last four meetings between the Central Division rivals.
The two clubs split a two-game set in Moline just before the ECHL All-Star Break, with the Mallards claiming a 5-3 decision on Jan. 12 before the Fuel answered with 4-3 win the following night. Following Friday's clash, the season series shifts back to Indianapolis for the final three games, a tripleheader at Indiana Farmers Coliseum from Feb. 22-24.
Scouting Report: All-Star defenseman Willie Raskob has tallied seven assists in seven games against the Fuel this season ... Forward Brayden Low (11g, 16a) has scored goals in four of his last five outings ... Gergo Nagy (5g, 6a) has three goals and four assists over his last four games.