Fuel head to Fort Wayne to begin home-and-home with Komets

Dec 15, 2017






The Story: The Indy Fuel (8-11-2-1) kick off a home-and-home doubleheader with the Fort Wayne Komets (13-7-2-0) Friday night at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Fans can catch the 8:00 p.m. puck drop live on 1070TheFan.com/IndyFuel and through ECHL.TV.

Playing some of their best hockey of the season, the Fuel make their first trip to Allen County with four wins in their last six games – climbing out of the Central Division basement in the process. With a pair of tilts against their crosstown rivals on the docket this weekend, Indy has a chance to continue to creep closer to the top of the pack in the division standings. 

With 19 points, the sixth-place Fuel sit three back of the Kalamazoo Wings in fifth place, while closing the gap between them and the fourth-place Kansas City Mavericks to just seven points (with three games in hand). 

The Fuel grabbed their fourth straight win on home ice Thursday with a 2-1 victory over the Quad City Mallards. Matt Rupert and Michael Neal each scored to help Indy build a 2-0 lead through 40 minutes, and 37 saves from Étienne Marcoux helped fend off a late Quad City push.

On the other side, the Komets have been one of the ECHL's most dangerous teams over the past month. Fort Wayne has shot up the Central Division standings, winning eight of its last 10 contests heading into the weekend. Three points off the division lead, the Komets saw a five-game winning streak snapped Wednesday via a 6-3 loss in Cincinnati. 

The Neal Deal: Fuel captain Michael Neal (8g, 3a) continued his torrid offensive pace with the game-winning goal in Thursday's win over Quad City. The veteran forward has left his name on the scoresheet in six of his last eight games, piling seven goals and two assists in the process. Neal's eight goals is tops on the Fuel roster.

Ruperts Running Wild: The brother duo of Matt and Ryan Rupert each continued their respective scoring streaks Thursday night, connecting for Indy's first-period goal. Matt has now found the net in three consecutive games – matching the Fuel's longest goal-scoring streak this season, set by Ryan earlier in December. Meanwhile, Ryan extended an assist streak to three games, and has now tallied nine points (3g, 6a) in seven games since returning from a suspension on Nov. 25.

18 And Counting: The Fuel's shorthanded unit has found its stride again during the club's recent success. Indy has held opponents scoreless on 18 consecutive power play opportunities, a streak that spans six entire games – where the Fuel faced the league's top-ranked unit twice and the third-ranked contingent once. Overall, Indy's penalty kill ranks 5th in the league at 86.8%

Inside the Matchup: The Fuel make the first of three trips to Allen County to begin a Friday-Saturday home-and-home doubleheader. Only the second of nine meetings between the Hoosier State rivals in 2017-18, the Komets claimed a 4-2 victory in the series opener on Nov. 24 at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. 

Indy enters Friday's contest 0-5-2-0 in their last seven games at the Memorial Coliseum, posting a 0-3-1-0 record one year ago in Allen County. The Fuel are looking for their first win in Fort Wayne since a 3-2 overtime triumph on Dec. 11, 2015.

Scouting Report: Komets leading scorer Shawn Szydlowski (10g, 15a) has found the scoresheet in 13 of his last 15 games dating back to Nov. 8, tallying 21 points over that span (9g, 12a) ... Defenseman Bobby Shea (1g, 3a) enters Friday on a four game point streak (1g, 3a) ... Forward Garrett Thompson (12g, 12a) has 10 points in his last six games (6g, 4a).


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