Fuel take on Mavericks in key Central Division clashMar 30, 2018
GAME PREVIEW: FUEL VS. MAVERICKS
FRIDAY, MARCH 30 - 7:35 P.M.
INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM, INDIANAPOLIS
TICKETS: TICKETMASTER, INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM BOX OFFICE
BROADCAST INFO: 1070THEFAN.COM, ECHL.TV
The Story: The Indy Fuel (32-29-4-1) look to pull back into fifth place in the Central Division Friday night with a win against the Kansas City Mavericks (33-29-3-2) at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The first of two critical home games for the Fuel is slated for a 7:35 p.m. ET start time in Indianapolis, and tickets are still available through Ticketmaster or the Indiana Farmers Coliseum box office.
With two weekends left in the 2017-18 ECHL regular season, the Fuel remain in an air-tight race with the Mavericks and Kalamazoo Wings for the fourth and final playoff berth in the Central Division. Entering Friday's action with 69 points, Indy is two points back of Kansas City and three behind Kalamazoo – though the Fuel have one game in hand on both the Mavericks and Wings. Out of the club's six remaining games, Indy has two head-to-head match-ups with Kansas City remaining, before one last showdown with Kalamazoo on the final day of the season.
Hunting for the first Kelly Cup Playoff berth in franchise history, the Fuel have picked up points in four straight games (2-0-2-0). After picking up victories Tuesday in Cincinnati and Friday against Fort Wayne, Indy suffered a 6-5 overtime loss on the road Sunday afternoon to the Brampton Beast.
Three unanswered goals to begin the third period helped the Fuel rally to a 5-4 lead, but Luc Blain forced the extra frame when he found the equalizer with just 28 seconds left in regulation. Forward Erik Bradford found the net one minute into overtime to give Brampton the second point. Darian Dziurzynski found the net twice for Indy, while Robin Press (1g, 1a) and Michael Neal (2a) also tallied multiple points.
Since snapping out of an eight game winless streak in late February, the Mavericks have collected points in 11 of their last 14 games (8-3-3-0). Kansas City heads into the final stop on a four-game road swing with wins in three of their last five. The Mavericks were 30 seconds away from a 1-0 shutout win Wednesday in Fort Wayne, before surrendering a late tying goal and falling 2-1 in overtime.
CENTRAL DIVISION STANDINGS
|1||x - Toledo||4||47||16||3||2||99||46|
|2||x - Fort Wayne||5||44||18||4||1||93||43|
(Top four teams qualify for the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs, x - clinched playoff berth)
The Real Delia: Goaltender Collin Delia made his NHL debut for the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night, becoming the first Fuel player to reach the parent club since the two teams began their affiliation in 2014-15. The rookie netminder stopped 25 of 27 shots, recording his first NHL victory as Chicago defeated the Winnipeg Jets 6-2 at United Center.
Delia saw action in 10 games with Indy to begin the 2017-18 season, before posting a 14-6-4 record in 24 games with the AHL's Rockford IceHogs. Delia is the second Fuel graduate to see action in the NHL this season, following defenseman Justin Holl who debuted with the Toronto Maple Leafs on January 31.
Multi-Point Inspection: Indy's top-ranked power play unit (22.2%) has scored in four straight games ... The Fuel's 56 power play goals this season is already double their 2016-17 total of 28, two shy from tying a franchise record of 58 set in 2014-15 ... With a penalty shot goal on Sunday, defenseman Robin Press (10g, 30a) broke Nick Bruneteau's single-season club record of 38 points scored by a blueliner ... Forward Darian Dziurzynski (24g, 24a) has 10 points in his last seven games (3g, 7a).
Inside The Matchup: Friday is the fourth of five meetings this season between Indy and Kansas City, the latter of two taking place at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The Fuel lead 2-1 in the season series, sweeping a weekend doubleheader at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena Feb. 16-17. The Mavericks took a 6-3 victory from their first visit to Indianapolis back on Nov. 25. The two clubs will wrap up their season series Tuesday in Independence.
Scouting Report: Forward Shawn Pauly (24g, 15a) had an eight-game point streak (9g, 3a) snapped Wednesday in Fort Wayne ... Rookie forward Jared VanWormer (18g, 18a) has four goals and four assists over his last six games ... In three starts since returning from AHL Stockton, goaltender Tyler Parsons has posted a 1-1-1 record, stopping 75 of 81 shots (.926).