Fuel close out weekend Sunday afternoon in Toledo

FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL AT WALLEYE

Mar 3, 2019
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FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL AT WALLEYE

SUNDAY, MARCH 3 - 5:15 P.M.

HUNTINGTON CENTER, TOLEDO, OHIO

BROADCAST INFO: ECHL.TV

THE MATCHUP: Following a crucial victory on home ice Saturday, the Indy Fuel (27-26-2-1) wrap up their weekend slate with a visit to the Toledo Walleye (32-15-5-3) Sunday afternoon at the Huntingon Center. The key Central Division clash for Indy is slated for a 5:15 start time from Ohio, with coverage coming via ECHL.TV.

Starting a three-in-three weekend on the wrong side of an 8-2 drubbing in Cincinnati, the Fuel responded with one of their strongest performances of the season Saturday, downing the Kalamazoo Wings 5-1 at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. With a 4-2-0-0 mark over its last six games, Indy arrives in Toledo looking to inch closer to playoff positioning in the competitive Central Division standing. 

On the other side, the Walleye have been an even-keeled 5-4-1-0 across their last 10 games, maintaining second place in the Central playoff position. Toledo snapped a three-game winless streak in a big way Saturday night, blasting the Fort Wayne Komets 11-0 at Huntington Center. 

Toledo owns a 4-2 lead in the 2018-19 season series with Indy, heading into the seventh of eight meetings on the regular season schedule. Following a pair of Fuel victories to start the season, the Walleye have responded with four straight wins, including a two-game sweep in Northern Ohio on Feb. 9-10. The two clubs will meet one final time a week from today back in Indianapolis. 

Walleye forward Shane Berschbach leads the season series in point scoring with two goals and five assists in six games, while Josh Shalla sits atop the Fuel roster with two goals and four assists against Toledo. 

LAST TIME OUT: The Fuel jumped out to a quick lead and never looked back on Saturday night, skating to a convincing 5-1 win over the Kalamazoo Wings in front of another large home crowd at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Goals from Olivier Labelle, Matt Rupert and Josh Shalla helped Indy build a 3-0 lead in the first period, before adding third-period tallies from Ryan Rupert and Shalla to seal the important victory. Matt Tomkins stopped 20 shots to log his 22nd win of the season, while the Fuel held a suffocating 45-21 edge in the shot column.

BACK IN THE HUNT: In what was considered by many a must-win game for Indy, the Fuel responded Saturday with two points while putting themselves right back in the mix in the Central Division playoff race. With Fort Wayne and Wheeling also falling Saturday, Indy gained ground on all three teams they are chasing for one of the two final spots in the postseason.

The sixth-place Fuel are now just two points back from the Nailers, and four points off the pace of the Wings and Komets for playofff positioning. Even with just 16 games left to play on its regular season schedule, Indy still has three head-to-head games left with both Wheeling and Fort Wayne, and another two with Kalamazoo. 

THE 300 CLUB: With his first period goal in Saturday's win, Josh Shalla registered the 300th point in his ECHL career. The seventh-year veteran has now compiled 157 goals and 144 assists in 358 career games with Indy, Wheeling, Toledo and Cincinnati. Already the Fuel's franchise-leading goal scorer, Shalla is three goals off his single-season record pace of 25 set last season. 

TIGHT GAME IN TOLEDO: After dropping the first leg of a three game weekend homestand to the Wheeling Nailers on Friday, Toledo delivered quite the bounce-back with a 11-0 thrashing of Fort Wayne last night. The Walleye received goals from nine different skaters and points from 15 different players, scoring six times in the second period. The win set ECHL season-highs in goals scored and margin of victory, while Toledo's six-goal second period matched the previous league high mark this season.

OTHER NOTABLES: Matt Rupert skated in his 250th career ECHL game Saturday night ... Indy's 25 first period shots was one short of setting the league's season high mark for shots in a single period ... Fuel defenseman Alex Brooks tallied two assists against Kalamazoo, extending his point streak to a career-long six games (1g, 5a) ... Josh Shalla has goals in four straight games ... Walleye forward Shane Berschbach has assists in seven of his last eight contests, collecting 10 total helpers over that span.

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