Fuel kick off home weekend against WheelingDec 8, 2017
GAME PREVIEW: FUEL VS. NAILERS
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 8 - 7:35 P.M.
INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM, INDIANAPOLIS
TICKETS: TICKETMASTER, INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM BOX OFFICE
BROADCAST INFO: 1070THEFAN.COM, ECHL.TV
The Story: The Indy Fuel (5-10-2-1) begin a two-game weekend on home ice Friday as they welcome the Wheeling Nailers (12-8-2-0) to Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Tickets are still available at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum box office, or by visiting Ticketmaster.
After taking one win from a two-game slate last weekend, the Fuel return home Friday looking to win their second in a row on home ice. Indy claimed a 3-1 victory over the Quad City Mallards last Friday at Indiana Farmers Coliseum, before falling to the Central Division-leading Walleye 3-2 Saturday night in Toledo.
Finding themselves in a 3-0 hole in the third period Saturday at Huntington Center, the Fuel rallied with two goals in the final four minutes of play to fight back to within a goal. Nolan Descoteaux and Ryan Rupert provided the offense for Indy, while goaltender Étienne Marcoux stopped 32 shots in another strong performance.
Following four straight tests against Central Division foes, Friday marks the first of two inter-divisional matchups for Indy. Wheeling enters the weekend in a three-way tie at the top of the North Division with 26 points, along with the Reading Royals and Manchester Monarchs.
One of the hottest teams out of the gate, the Nailers have stumbled a bit in the last few weeks, showing a 3-6 record in their last nine games. Wheeling has lost three of four entering Friday's contest, most recently dropping a 3-2 decision against the Fort Wayne Komets on Sunday, before suffering a 2-1 defeat in Reading on Wednesday.
The Quarter Mark: With Saturday's loss in Toledo, the Fuel are now officially one fourth of the way through their 2017-18 ECHL schedule. Indy's 11 points through the first 18 games of the season is down from the club's 18 points a year ago at the quarter mark.
Ryan Rup3rt: By finding the net with just seconds remaining in regulation time Saturday, forward Ryan Rupert (5g, 5a) extended his goal scoring streak to three games. Rupert's five goals this season ranks third among Fuel skaters, while his 10 points ranks fourth in team scoring.
ET Time: Goaltender Étienne Marcoux continued his strong play in the Fuel cage last weekend, stopping 61 of 65 shots in a pair of starts. The rookie from Laval, Quebec leads the ECHL with a .935 save percentage, while Marcoux's 2.48 goals against average ranks 10th among league goalies.
Special Teams Battle: Indy enters Week 9 of the ECHL schedule back in the top 10 when it comes to both man power situations. The Fuel have scored power play goals in back-to-back games, improving to 10th in the ECHL at 18.4%. On the PK, Indy was a spotless 6-for-6 last weekend, rising to 9th in the league overall at 84.8%. The Fuel shorthanded unit will face a tough test Friday, as Wheeling boasts the ECHL's top-rated power play at 24.8%.
Inside the Matchup: Friday is the second of five meetings between the Fuel and Nailers in 2017-18, the second of two from Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The series will shift to WesBanco Arena for the final three games, beginning with Indy's first trip to West Virginia next Tuesday.
Wheeling grabbed a 5-1 win from their first trip to the Circle City this year back on Nov. 4, with rookie forward Reid Gardiner leading the way with two goals and one assist. The overall series between the two clubs is split at five wins apiece, with the Fuel holding a 3-3-1-0 record on home ice.
Scouting Report: Nailers forward Cody Wydo (12g, 15a) ranks third in the ECHL scoring race with 27 points in 21 games played, while Reid Gardiner (11g, 13a) leads all league rookies with 24 points ... Forward Hunter Fejes (12g, 6a) has recorded at least one goal in five of his last six games, tallying eight points total (6g, 2a) over that span.