Fuel return home to take on Thunder during Education Day Game
FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL VS. THUNDERFeb 19, 2019
FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL VS. THUNDER
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19 - 10:30 A.M.
INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM, INDIANAPOLIS
BROADCAST INFO: INDYFUELHOCKEY.COM, ECHL.TV
THE MATCHUP: After five straight games on the road, the Indy Fuel (25-24-2-1) return to the Circle City Tuesday morning to take on the Wichita Thunder during the club's annual Education Day Game at Indiana Farmers Coliseum presented by Marian University Indianapolis. Thousands of students from across Central Indiana are expected to be in attendance as the puck drops at 10:30 a.m. ET.
Indy wrapped up its season-long trip away from Central Indiana with a pair of victories over the weekend in Wichita, blanking the Thunder by a 5-0 count on Saturday before hanging on for a 7-5 win Sunday afternoon. The Fuel now play the role of the home team for two straight this week against Wichita, as the club looks to climb back into the Central Division playoff picture.
With their back-to-back wins to end the weekend, Indy (53 points) sits just one point back of the fifth place Wheeling Nailers in the Central standings, while trailing the Fort Wayne Komets by just two points for possession of the fourth and final playoff spot in the division. With an overtime victory on Monday in Brampton, the Kalamazoo Wings now sit four points ahead of Indy in third place.
On the other side, Wichita begins a four-game trip through Indiana Tuesday looking to reverse what has been a dreadful start to the month of February. The Thunder have dropped seven straight and nine of their last 10 dating back to Jan. 27, falling to seven points back of the fourth place Kansas City Mavericks in the Mountain Division standings. Over the team's current seven game skid, Wichita has been outscored by a 32-14 margin, giving up five or more goals in four of its last five outings.
The Fuel and Thunder have only met twice prior at Indiana Farmers Coliseum, with both sides winning once. Indy took a dominant 7-1 victory from Wichita's last visit to the Circle City back on Dec. 9, 2017.
LAST TIME OUT: Led by a career night from Ryan Rupert, the Fuel completed a two-game sweep at INTRUST Bank Arena with a 7-5 win over the Thunder on Sunday night. Rupert recorded three goals and two assists, helping Indy build a 6-2 lead after two periods – which was just enough to withstand a third period rally from Wichita. Forward Woody Hudson tallied three assists, Radovan Bondra scored a pair of goals, while Matt Rupert chipped in a goal and an assist to help drive the Fuel’s big offensive night. Goaltender Matt Tomkins turned aside 32 shots to record his 20th victory of the season.
LAWFIRM LINE 2.0: Indy's scoring outburst Sunday in Wichita was paced by the forward trio of Ryan Rupert (3g, 2a), Matt Rupert (1g, 1a) and Woody Hudson (3a), who combined for 10 points and a +10 rating during the road victory. Ryan Rupert set a career high and matched a Fuel franchise record with five points, becoming the second player in as many games to record a hat trick. In two games in the Indy lineup since joining the team following a trade from Worcester, Hudson has tallied five assists, matching his point total from his last 31 games with the Railers.
BACK HOME AGAIN IN INDIANA (FARMERS COLISEUM): After playing only once in their own building over the last 23 days, Indy will play four of its next six games at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The Fuel have been a strong team on home ice all season long, owning a 16-7-1-1 record in the Circle City, with 11 games remaining in their own building.
OTHER NOTABLES: Indy set a new franchise record Sunday for the fastest two goals scored in succession, when Matt Rupert and Radovan Bondra scored within nine seconds of one another in the first period ... The Fuel have scored a power play goal in five of their last seven games, operating at 33.3% over that span ... Wichita forward Ralph Cuddemi registered 10 shots in both games against Indy last weekend ... Indy's Matt Tomkins became the first ECHL goaltender to reach 20 wins this season.
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