Fuel open 2018-19 campaign against Fort Wayne
Fanimation Game Preview: Fuel vs. KometsOct 12, 2018
FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL VS. KOMETS
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12 - 7:35 P.M.
INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM, INDIANAPOLIS
TICKETS: TICKETMASTER, INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM BOX OFFICE
BROADCAST INFO: INDYFUELHOCKEY.COM, ECHL.TV
THE MATCHUP: The Indy Fuel open their 2018-19 ECHL schedule Friday night against the Fort Wayne Komets at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. In what is the first of two Opening Weekend games in Indianapolis, the Fuel enter their fifth anniversary campaign looking to improve on the club's best season in franchise history and first-ever playoff appearance.
LAST TIME OUT: Including the ECHL preseaosn, Friday's game is technically the third straight game between Indy and Fort Wayne. The Fuel and Komets met for a pair of exhibition tilts last weekend, with Fort Wayne picking a 3-2 overtime victory Friday in Indianapolis before winning 6-3 the following night at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.
HOME SWEET HOME ICE: With the preseason in the rearview mirror, the Fuel are hoping that an extended stay in Central Indiana can translate to a strong start to the regular season. Indy opens the 2018-19 schedule with four straight games at Indiana Farmers Coliseum, with six of the club's first seven games taking place on home ice. Last season, the Fuel skated to a 20-14-2-0 mark in their own building, the 20 wins matching a franchise high mark.
FAMILIAR FACES: If there is one area the Fuel look to be particularly deadly in 2018-19, it is up front. Indy begins the season with a wealth of skill, size and experience in their forward group, led by five returning players who combined for 94 goals and 210 points last season.
Fuel franchise leading goal scorer Josh Shalla returns after scoring a new single-season record 28 goals in just 42 games in 2017-18. After first signing overseas to begin the offseason, twin brothers Ryan and Matt Rupert find themselves back in the circle city, where they tallied 49 and 40 points respectively a year ago. Mid-season acquisitions Johnny McInnis (36 points in 2017-18) and Logan Nelson (35 points in 2017-18) give Indy even more offensive depth, in addition to newcomers Olivier Labelle, Kevin Dufour, Quentin Shore and rookie Mathew Thompson.
ROCKFORD REINFORCEMENTS: Once again, the Rockford IceHogs will be well represented within Indy's Opening Night roster. The Fuel start the season with six players under contract with the club's AHL affiliate, including goaltender Matt Tomkins, who posted an 11-9-2 record in 25 appearances with Indy a year ago. Joining Tomkins on assignment to Indy are rookie forwards Radovan Bondra, Connor Moynihan and Brett Welychka, and first-year defensemen Neil Manning and Josh McArdle.
HOOSIER STATE HOSTILITY: The Fuel and Komets will again have plenty of chances to get acquainted with one another over the course of the 2018-19 season. The in-state rivals are slated to meet each other 11 times this season, six of the matchups taking place at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
Last year, the Komets won the season series six games to three, though Indy took each of the last two meetings on home ice en route to its first-ever playoff berth. All-time, the Fuel hold an 11-22-3-4 record against the Hoosier State foe, including a 7-11-0-3 mark at home.