Fuel finish weekend set Saturday in Fort Wayne


Jan 5, 2019





THE MATCHUP: The Indy Fuel (18-15-0-0) wrap up a weekend tripleheader Saturday night as they hit the road to take on the Fort Wayne Komets (18-14-0-1) at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. The second meeting in three days between the Hoosier State rivals is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. ET puck drop, with coverage coming live on ECHL.TV.

The Fuel head up I-69 looking to avenge a 4-1 loss to the Komets Thursday night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Separated by one just point in the Central Division standings, Indy can retake sole possession of third place with a regulation victory in Allen County. 

Saturday marks the second of five meetings between the in-state foes in the month of January alone, and the fifth of 11 clashes overall this season. Fort Wayne has won three of the first four games to start the 2018-19 season series, though the Fuel's lone win did come during their previous trip to the Memorial Coliseum – a 5-2 decision back on Dec. 8. 

Komets forward Justin Hodgman paces both teams in the season series with two goals and four assists over four games against Indy, while Olivier Labelle (2g, 1a) and Neil Manning (1g, 2a) have each netted three points in three games. Fort Wayne netminder Zachary Fucale has been brilliant in two starts against the Fuel, posting two wins along with a 1.00 goals against average and a .968 save percentage.

LAST TIME OUT: The Fuel got a huge boost from their special teams Friday as they took down the Wheeling Nailers by a 3-2 count at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Indy finished the contest 2-for-4 on the power play and 7-for-7 on the penalty kill to improve to 3-2 against the Nailers this season. Brett Welychka's third-period goal stood to be the game-winner, after Kevin Dufour and Alex Brooks struck in the opening frame to give the Fuel a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. Ryan Rupert chipped in a pair of assists, while goaltender Matt Tomkins recorded his 14th win of the season with 20 saves. 

NEW LEADER IN THE CLUBHOUSE: With his two helpers on Friday night, Ryan Rupert now leads all Fuel skaters in both points (30) and assists (21) through 33 games this season. Both of Rupert's assists came on the power play, giving the veteran forward a team-best 11 power play points. Rupert has found his offensive stride since the ECHL's holiday break, tallying nine points (4g, 5a) in six games since Dec. 27. 

HITTING THE ROAD: After going just 2-8-0-0 over their first 10 games this season away from Central Indiana, the Fuel have showed recent signs of improvement on the road. Indy has won two straight games outside of Indiana Farmers Coliseum and three of its last four dating back to the club's 5-2 win in Fort Wayne on Dec. 8.

The Fuel haven't had to travel often over the past month, playing seven of their last nine games at home since Dec. 14. That is about to change, as following a two-game homestand next week Indy will embark a stretch that sees them play 12 of its next 16 on the road from Jan. 12 to Feb. 17.

OTHER NOTABLES: Indy's Matt Tomkins is tied for the league lead among all ECHL goaltenders with 14 wins, along with Newfoundland's Michael Garteig ... Forward Radovan Bondra has seven assists over his last seven games ... Defenseman Alex Brooks has three goals and two assists over his last six games ... Indy's 22 shots surrendered to Wheeling Friday matched a season-low, and the Fuel held the Nailers to just three shots in the second period ... The Fuel are 8-1-0-0 this season when leading after the first period.


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