Fuel clinch first-ever Kelly Cup Playoff berth
Indy secures spot in postseason after 2-1 victory over Kalamazoo; will face Toledo in Central Division SemifinalsApr 8, 2018
INDIANAPOLIS – For the first time in franchise history, the Indy Fuel are headed to the Kelly Cup Playoffs. The Fuel punched their ticket to the ECHL postseason on Sunday, defeating the Kalamazoo Wings 2-1 at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Finishing with the fourth seed in the Central Division, Indy will move on to face the division champion Toledo Walleye in the Central Division Semifinals. The seven-game series will begin next Friday at the Huntington Center, with Games 3, 4 and 5 taking place at Indiana Farmers Coliseum from April 18-21 (Game 5 if necessary).
Tickets for Games 3 and 4 in Indianapolis will go on sale Monday, April 9 at 12 p.m. at IndyFuelHockey.com as well as the Indiana Farmers Coliseum box office. More information on Kelly Cup Playoff tickets will be announced shortly.
Needing a victory to avoid elimination, the Fuel took control early before holding off a Kalamazoo comeback attempt in the winner-take-all contest in front of a large Sunday crowd of 3,603. Forwards Alex Wideman and Logan Nelson found the net just 43 seconds apart midway through the opening frame, while goaltender Étienne Marcoux turned aside 31 of 32 shots to preserve the early lead.
After a tight-checking start to the game, Wideman put Indy in front at 6:26 of the first, finishing a rebound attempt left by linemate Josh Shalla. On the next shift, Michael Neal won a puck battle in front of the net before sliding a centering feed to Nelson, who beat Kalamazoo goaltender Joel Martin for his 10th goal of the season.
Defensive play took over for the remainder of the contest, as both teams were able to limit the quality scoring chances of their opponent. Both the Fuel and Wings killed off a pair of power play chances during the second period, sending the game into the final frame at a 2-0 count in favor of the home team.
Kalamazoo cut the Indy lead in half 1:11 into the third period, when a point shot from Aaron Irving off was deflected in by Justin Taylor off the left goal post. The Wings continued to press for the equalizer throughout the third period, but timely saves by Marcoux and several key shot blocks by Fuel defenders in the final stages of regulation buoyed the score at 2-1.
The Fuel finished the regular season with a 36-30-5-1 record, setting franchise records in wins, points (77) and road wins (16). Sitting more than four points out of the last playoff spot in the Central Division in late February, Indy finished the campaign with a 15-7-4-0 record over its last 26 games. The Fuel picked up points in 12 of their last 14 games (9-2-3-0) to catch both Kalamazoo and the Kansas City Mavericks in the race for fourth place.
2018 Central Division Semifinal Schedule – Fuel vs. Toledo Walleye
Game 1: Friday, April 13 - at Toledo - 7:35 p.m.
Game 2: Sunday, April 15 - at Toledo - 5:15 p.m.
Game 3: Wednesday, April 18 - at Indiana Farmers Coliseum - 7:05 p.m.
Game 4: Thursday, April 19 - at Indiana Farmers Coliseum - 7:05 p.m.
Game 5*: Saturday, April 21 - at Indiana Farmers Coliseum - 7:35 p.m.
Game 6*: Tuesday, April 24 - at Toledo - 7:35 p.m.
Game 7*: Wednesday, April 25 - at Toledo - 7:35 p.m.
* if necessary
It’s time to #FindYourNextGear and cheer on the Indy Fuel during the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs! The Central Division Semifinals shift to Indiana Farmers Coliseum for Game 3 on Wednesday, April 18, as the Fuel take on the Toledo Walleye. Be part of the first playoff appearance in Fuel history by picking up your tickets at IndyFuelHockey.com or at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum box office. Don’t miss a second of the action during the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs – follow the Fuel on Twitter and Instagram (@IndyFuel) and ‘Like’ the Fuel on Facebook.
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