Fuel open homestand Saturday against Fort Wayne
FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL VS. KOMETSMar 23, 2019
FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL VS. KOMETS
SATURDAY, MARCH 23 - 7:35 PM
INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM, INDIANAPOLIS
BROADCAST INFO: INDYFUELHOCKEY.COM, ECHL.TV
THE MATCHUP: The Indy Fuel (30-30-2-2) kick off a season-long five-game homestand at Indiana Farmers Coliseum Saturday night as they take on the Fort Wayne Komets (31-23-3-6). Limited tickets remain for First Responders/Military Night presented by Anthem & ESGR, and are available on Ticketmaster or at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum box office.
Finishing a four-game road swing with a 1-2-0-1 record, the Fuel return to home ice fighting to keep their postseason hopes alive. Friday's loss at Wheeling dropped Indy back into sixth place in the Central Division standings, two points back of the Nailers and six shy of the Kalamazoo Wings in the race for the division's final playoff berth.
The Komets currently occupy the third seed in the Central, though the Wings are right on their heels, trailing one point behind. Fort Wayne has dropped two straight home games coming into Indianapolis, falling 4-3 to the Wings on Wednesday before suffering a 3-2 setback to the Central-leading Cincinnati Cyclones on Friday night.
Saturday is the first of three remaining meetings between the Fuel and Komets down the stretch. The Hoosier State rivals will meet up for one last home-and-home doubleheader on the final week of the regular season, starting in Allen County on April 3 before returning to the Circle City for the series finale on April 5.
Fort Wayne has a 5-3 lead in the season series so far, though the Fuel have won two in a row against the in-state foes. The two clubs are squaring off for the first time in nearly two months, with Indy blanking the Komets by a 5-0 tally in the previous meeting on Jan. 25 at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
LAST TIME OUT: Indy scored twice to rally from an early deficit, but the Wheeling Nailers used three unanswered goals in the third period to claim a 5-2 victory Friday night at WesBanco Arena. Wheeling's Zac Lynch picked up two of his three assists on a pair of power play tallies to break a 2-2 tie, before the Nailers popped in an empty net goal to seal the win. Olivier Labelle and Travis Brown each struck on the power play for Indy, while Mathew Thompson chipped in with two assists. Matt Tomkins turned aside 26 of 30 shots in the losing effort.
MAT IS ALL THAT: With two helpers Friday in Wheeling, forward Mathew Thompson continued his streak of strong offensive play for the Fuel. The rookie has found his way to the scoresheet in six of his last seven games, collecting four goals and six assists. Thompson ranks third on the Fuel roster in point scoring this season, potting 16 goals and 24 assists in 57 games.
CIRCLE CITY STAND: In need of as many points as possible with just three weekends left in the 2018-19 season, the Fuel have the luxury of being able to make their final push in the comforts of their own building. Six of Indy's final eight games take place at Indiana Farmers Coliseum, including five straight on home ice starting Saturday. The Fuel have been formidable in the Circle City this season, entering the weekend with a 19-9-1-1 mark – one win short of tying the club record for home victories in a single season.
OTHER NOTABLES: Matt Rupert leads Indy against Fort Wayne with four goals and three assists in seven games ... Fuel defenseman Travis Brown leads all ECHL blueliners with eight power play goals this season ... Komets forward Brady Shaw is on a four-game point streak, tallying four goals and three assists since March 16 ... Fort Wayne forward Shawn Szydlowski has collected 15 points (3g, 12a) over his last nine games.
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