Fuel put winning streak on the line Tuesday against ToledoFeb 27, 2018
GAME PREVIEW: FUEL VS. WALLEYE
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 27 - 7:05 P.M.
INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM, INDIANAPOLIS
TICKETS: TICKETMASTER, INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM BOX OFFICE
BROADCAST INFO: 1070THEFAN.COM, ECHL.TV
The Story: Winners of four straight games and six of their last seven, the Indy Fuel (27-24-2-1) close out a five game homestand Tuesday night against the Central Division-leading Toledo Walleye (37-14-2-2). It's another All-You-Can-Eat Night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum, as fans can enjoy unlimited hot dogs, burgers, popcorn and nachos free with the purchase of a game ticket. Tickets are available at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum box office or through Ticketmaster.
The Fuel finished a stretch of seven games and nine days last week by stringing together a perfect record through four games in Indianapolis. After opening the homestand with a 3-2 victory over Cincinnati on Tuesday, Indy rattled off three consecutive wins against the Quad City Mallards over the weekend.
The surging Fuel completed the sweep Saturday, parlaying a four-goal second period to a 6-4 triumph over the Mallards in front of a large hometown crowd. Rookie forward Matheson Iacopelli recorded his first professional hat trick for Indy, while linemates Alex Wideman (3a) and Logan Nelson (2a) also logged big offensive nights.
Riding their longest winning streak of the season, the Fuel find themselves at the cusp of a playoff spot in the Central Division. Entering the final quarter of their 2017-18 schedule with 57 points, Indy is just two points behind the fourth place Kalamazoo Wings (59 points), and three behind Cincinnati (60 points) for possession of third place. In what is shaping up to be a frenzied race to the finish, only four points separate the Cyclones from the sixth place Kansas City Mavericks (56 points).
While the Fuel are fighting for their first-ever Kelly Cup Playoff berth, the Walleye find themselves in a battle for the top spot in the division. Despite being tied for the league lead with 78 points, Toledo only holds a one point cushion over Fort Wayne for first place in the Central.
The Walleye arrive in Indianapolis sporting a 12-2 record in their last 14 outings since Jan. 26. Winners of three straight, Toledo swept a weekend set on home ice against South Division opponents, taking two from the Atlanta Gladiators before downing the Greenville Swamp Rabbits 5-2 on Sunday.
At The Three-Quarter Mark: Tuesday marks the official start of the final fourth of the Fuel's regular season slate. Indy's 27 wins and 57 points are both franchise high marks at this juncture of the season – a full 23 points better than the club had through 54 games in 2016-17. The Fuel have already eclipsed their full-season total of 53 points earned last year, and are 17 points away from breaking their single-season point record of 73 set in 2014-15.
Iaco-Awesome: Rookie forward Matheson Iacopelli (5g, 1a) has made an instant impact since reassigned to the Fuel from the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday. The 2014 Blackhawks third round pick has tallied five goals and one assist over his first three games in Indy, including a hat trick performance Saturday against Quad City. In 40 games with the AHL's Rockford IceHogs this year, Iacopelli tallied nine goals and eight assists.
Multi-Point Inspection: Iacopelli is the third Fuel player to record a hat trick this season, joining Tommy Olczyk (Dec. 23) and Josh Shalla (Jan. 19) ... Indy's top-ranked power play is operating at 50% during the four-game winning streak (8-for-16) ... Robin Press has found the scoresheet in eight straight games (4g, 6a), the longest point streak ever for a Fuel defenseman ... Forward Alex Wideman has registered points in each of his seven games (3g, 9a) since returning to the lineup from AHL recall.
Inside the Matchup: The Fuel enter Tuesday's action still searching for their first win of 2017-18 against Toledo. The Walleye have claimed each of the first five games of the season series, with four meetings left on the schedule. Indy is looking to end a nine game losing streak to the Walleye in Indianapolis, dating back to the 2015-16 campaign. The Fuel are 1-11-0-1 all-time on home ice against the Detroit Red Wings affiliate, with the lone victory coming via a shootout on the first night of the 2015-16 season.
Scouting Report: The Walleye received forward Dylan Sadowy and defenseman Patrick McCarron from AHL Grand Rapids on Thursday, while forward Christian Hilbrich (Chicago) and goaltender Matej Machovski (Grand Rapids) are currently on AHL recall ... Leading scorer Erik Bradford (15g, 28a) has four goals and three assists over his last five games ... Goaltender Pat Nagle leads the ECHL with 26 wins, ranking sixth in goals against average (2.27) ... The Walleye rank second in the league in team defense, giving up 2.35 goals a game.