Fuel return to Quad City for doubleheader with MallardsNov 11, 2017
GAME PREVIEW: FUEL AT MALLARDS
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11 - 8:05 P.M.
TAXSLAYER CENTER, MOLINE, ILL.
BROADCAST INFO: 1070TheFan.com, ECHL.TV
The Story: The Indy Fuel (2-5-1-1) look to get back in the win column Saturday night as they open a two-game series at TaxSlayer Center against the Quad City Mallards (4-5-0-0). Fans in Indianapolis can follow the Central Division showdown live on 1070TheFan.com and via ECHL.TV.
Indy heads back on the road looking to snap a four-game winless streak. The Fuel picked up only one point from their three game slate last weekend, earning an overtime point Friday from a shootout loss in Quad City before falling twice at Indiana Farmers Coliseum Saturday and Sunday.
In Indy's first appearance on home ice since October 21, a 5-1 setback to the Wheeling Nailers preceded a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Division-leading Toledo Walleye. Ryan Rupert and Michael Neal scored for the Fuel in Sunday's contest, who could not overcome a 3-1 Toledo lead in the third period.
Rookie goaltender Étienne Marcoux saw action in all three games over the weekend for Indy, stopping 87 of 93 shots he faced (.935 SV%).
Saturday's game is the second of a string of five consecutive games within the Central Division for the Fuel, providing a key opportunity for Indy to gain some ground in the standings. Though entering into the weekend in seventh place with six points, Indy is only five points shy of a third-place tie with Fort Wayne and Kalamazooo.
The Mallards are also seeking more consistency in the early stages of their ECHL schedule. After defeating the Fuel for their third straight win last Friday, Quad City has now lost two in a row heading into Saturday's matchup, getting outscored 13-2 in the process. The Fort Wayne Komets issed the Mallards a 7-1 trouncing on Saturday night in Allen County, before the Adirondack Thunder left TaxSlayer Center with a 4-1 win on Wednesday.
Back On The Highway: While the majority of Indy's 2017-18 season to date has been spent away from Indiana Farmers Coliseum, this weekend marks the Fuel's final road trip for nearly a month. After this weekend's doubleheader in Moline, the Fuel won't play as the visiting team until a trip to Toledo on Saturday, December 2.
Power Outage: After a scorching hot start to the season, Indy's special teams play has gone the other direction over the last four games. The Fuel enter Saturday's game scoreless in four straight games on the power play, after starting the season with nine power play goals over their first five contests. On the other side, Indy's penalty kill unit is 11-for-15 (73.3%) over the club's four-game winless streak, down significantly from their 94.7% efficiency through five games – which led the ECHL at the time.
Something's Gotta Give: Both the Fuel and Mallards have had a tough time finding the back of the net. Indy and Quad City rank 26th and 27th in team scoring offense, scoring 2.56 and 2.33 goals per game respectively.
Oh Brother: Playing with each other for the first time since the beginning of the 2015-16 season, Fuel forwards Matt and Ryan Rupert seem to be finding their chemistry as linemates. The twin brothers have combined for two goals and three assists over their last three games, including a beautiful shorthanded tally Sunday afternoon against Toledo.
Inside the Matchup: Saturday is the second of 11 meetings between Indy and Quad City in 2017-18, the second of six at TaxSlayer Center. Matt Pohlcamp tied the game with 14 minutes left in the third period, and Tristan King and Justin Kovacs scored in the shootout to give the Mallards a 4-3 victory in the season series opener last Friday.
The Fuel hold a 10-7-1-3 mark all-time against Quad City, though the Mallards have come out on top of eight of the last 11 games in the series dating back to the beginning of last season.
Scouting Report: Forward Sam Warning (7g, 1a) leads all Quad City skaters with eight points, and has scored a goal in four of his last five outings ... Rookie goaltender Ivan Kulbakov has seen action in six straight games, posting a 3-3-0-0 record.