Fuel open home-and-home set with Wings Saturday in Indianapolis
FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL VS. WINGSJan 26, 2019
FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL VS. WINGS
SATURDAY, JANUARY 26 - 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 (21-18-2-1) kick off a two game set with the Kalamazoo Wings (19-19-0-2) Saturday night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The puck hits the ice at 7:35 p.m. during Hockey Fights Cancer night presented by Community Health Network – tickets are still available by visiting the Indiana Farmers Coliseum box office.
The Fuel and Wings will be spending some quality time with one another over the next three weeks, with four of Indy's next five games coming against Kalamazoo. Following Saturday's encounter in the Circle City, the Central Division rivals will head to Wings Event Center for a Sunday rematch, before meeting again for another home-and-home series on Feb. 6 and 8.
Coming into Saturday's contest with points in six of their last eight games (3-2-2-1), the Fuel find themselves in a third place tie with Fort Wayne in the Central Division standings, holding a five point cushion over the sixth-place Wings. Winners of two straight and four of its last five, Kalamazoo is looking to climb out of the Central basement, just two points behind the fifth place Wheeling Nailers with a game in hand.
Indy holds a 4-1-0-0 record against the Wings heading into the sixth of 12 meetings this season between the two teams. The clubs meet for the first time since New Years' Eve, when the Fuel rode a four-goal second period to a 6-2 victory at Wings Event Center. Both prior encounters in the Circle City this season have gone in favor of Indy, the most recent being a 6-3 triumph back on Nov. 24.
LAST TIME OUT: Goaltender Matt Tomkins made 30 saves to record his first professional shutout as the Fuel cruised to a 5-0 victory over the Fort Wayne Komets Friday at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Indy scored twice in both the first and second periods to build a 4-0 lead through 40 minutes, before adding one more tally late in regulation to earn its second straight win against the Komets. Brett Welychka (1g, 2a), Connor Moynihan (1g, 1a), Mathew Thompson (1g, 1a) and Logan Nelson (2a) all finished with multi-point outings, while Ryan Rupert and Josh Shalla also found the back of the net for Indy.
MATT T0MKINS: Matt Tomkins turned aside seven shots in the first, nine in the second and 14 in the final frame to pick up the first shutout of his professional career in Friday's win over the Komets. The goose egg was Indy's first as a team in nearly two calendar years, dating back to when Jake Hildebrand made 45 saves in a 2-0 win over Rapid City on Jan. 27, 2017. Tomkins becomes the fourth Fuel goaltender to record a shutout, joining Hildebrand, Mac Carruth and Shane Owen.
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT: The all-rookie forward combination of Brett Welychka, Connor Moynihan and Mathew Thompson ignited Friday night for three goals and four assists to lead Indy's offense. Welychka tallied his second career three-point outing with a goal and two assists, returning to the lineup after missing two games to injury. With his two points Friday, Thompson has now scored two goals and three assists over his last five games, leading all Fuel rookies with 27 points (10g, 17a) this season.
OTHER NOTABLES: Ryan Rupert has three goals and three assists over his last five games ... The Fuel own the ECHL's top-ranked penalty kill at 86.5%, killing off 17 consecutive power plays over their last four games ... Indy and Kalamazoo have combined to score 9.2 goals per game over the first five outings of their season series ... The Fuel became the first team to shut out Fort Wayne since Brampton on March 19, 2017 ... Josh Shalla has scored three goals in his last two games.
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