Fuel return to action Wednesday in ToledoDec 27, 2017
GAME PREVIEW: FUEL AT WALLEYE
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 27 - 7:15 P.M.
HUNTINGTON CENTER, TOLEDO, OHIO
BROADCAST INFO: 1070THEFAN.COM, ECHL.TV
The Story: After the ECHL's brief holiday break, the Indy Fuel (9-14-2-1) begin their post-Christmas schedule Wednesday with a visit to Huntington Center to take on the Toledo Walleye (17-8-2-1). Puck drop from Ohio is slated for 7:15 p.m. ET, with live coverage starting at 7 on 1070TheFan.com/IndyFuel.
The Fuel cruised into the break on a high note, after dispatching the Cincinnati Cyclones 7-4 Saturday night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Tommy Olczyk recorded a shorthanded hat trick to lead the way for Indy – becoming only the fourth player in ECHL history to accomplish the feat.
Darian Dziurzynski chipped in a goal and an assist in his Fuel debut, while Cam Reid and Michael Neal each marked a pair of assists for Indy, helping snap a three-game skid in the process.
Meanwhile, Toledo has been idle since a 4-1 loss in Kalamazoo last Friday. The Walleye enter Wednesday's action winners in three of their last four games, with a 5-4-0-1 mark over their last 10 outings. The Central Division leaders hold a one-point edge over the Fort Wayne Komets at the top of the division standings.
Tommy's Big Night: Forward Tommy Olczyk joined became part of an exclusive group after his shorthanded hat trick on Saturday night. The second-year forward joined Jamey Hicks (1998), Chad Costello (2012) and Shawn Szydlowski (2015) as the only players to tally three shorthanded goals in a single ECHL game. Olczyk becomes the third Fuel player to tally multiple shorthanded goals in a single game, alongside Michael Neal (March 12, 2017) and Nathan Noel (November 17, 2017)
Score With Four: Indy's penalty kill unit has been extremely effective on both sides of the puck this season. In addition to ranking fifth in the ECHL with a 87.0% success rate, the Fuel lead the entire league with eight shorthanded goals through 26 games played. Indy has already surpassed their franchise season high mark of five shorthanded tallies, set back in 2014-15.
Hitting The Road: After spending much of the month of December on home ice, the Fuel will get some quality time on the team bus in the next few weeks. Beginning Wednesday in Toledo, Indy will play six of its next eight games on the road. Homestands will be few and far between over the next two months, as the Fuel will play 18 of their next 24 contests through Feb. 18 away from Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
Inside the Matchup: Wednesday is the fourth of nine meetings between Indy and Toledo, the second of three taking place at Huntington Center. The Walleye have taken each of the first three encounters in 2017-18, including a 3-2 victory during Indy's last trip to Ohio on Dec. 2.
Fuel forwards Matt and Ryan Rupert have combined for two goals and four assists through the first three games of the season series, while Christian Hilbrich (2g, 1a), Austin Brassard (1g, 2a) and Shane Berschbach (3a) all have tallied three points in as many games against Indy.
Scouting Report: Walleye forward Erik Bradford (7g, 15a) has points in five consecutive games (4g, 2a), while leading Toledo with 15 assists ... Goaltender Pat Nagle leads the ECHL with 14 wins, helping his team secure at least one point in 16 of his 18 starts this season.