Fuel host Oilers on Opening Night in IndianapolisOct 21, 2017
GAME PREVIEW: FUEL VS. OILERS
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21 - 7:35 P.M.
INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM
TICKETS: IndyFuelHockey.com, Indiana Farmers Coliseum box office
BROADCAST INFO: 1070TheFan.com, ECHL.TV
The Story: The Indy Fuel make their first appearance on home ice Saturday night as they welcome the Tulsa Oilers to Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Puck drop for Opening Night in Indianapolis is scheduled for 7:35 p.m., with tickets available both through Ticketmaster or at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum box office.
Fans are encouraged to arrive early for a pregame Fan Fest outside of Indiana Farmers Coliseum from 5-7, including music, games and more activities. All in attendance will also receive a free rally towel, courtesy of IBEW Local #481.
The Fuel return home looking for their first victory of the season, after a pair of close encounters with the Wichita Thunder last weekend at INTRUST Bank Arena. Indy dropped both halves of the season-opening doubleheader by a 4-3 score, while picking up its first point of the 2017-18 campaign Saturday by forcing overtime.
Defenseman Troy Vance scored late in the third period to bring the Fuel to a 3-3 tie during Saturday's rematch with Wichita, but a wrap-around by Thunder forward Mark MacMillan with 33 seconds left in the extra session gave the Thunder the weekend sweep.
Special Teams Supremacy: Last weekend proved to be an impressive debut for the Fuel power play and penalty kill units. Indy opened the season going 2-for-3 with the extra man on Friday night, tacking on another power play goal in Saturday's overtime loss. Forwards Alex Wideman and Cam Reid each had a hand in all three extra-man tallies. Meanwhile, Indy's shorthanded group was just as successful, killing off all seven Wichita power play opportunities they faced last weekend.
Swine Spotting: Indy received even more reinforcements from their AHL affiliate in Rockford on Friday, as the IceHogs assigned forward Radovan Bondra and defenseman Robin Press to the Fuel. Heading into Saturday's home opener, Indy's roster boasts six players on Rockford contracts (Bondra, Press, Wideman, Tommy Olczyk, Brandon Anselmini, Matt Tomkins). Goaltender Collin Delia – who got the nod in each of Indy's games last weekend – will also figure to spend plenty of time with the Fuel, though he remains with in Rockford on Saturday.
Circle City Success: The Fuel have picked up at least a point in all three of their prior home openers leading into Saturday's tilt with Tulsa. Last season, Alex Wideman's two goals propelled Indy to a 3-1 victory over the Cincinnati Cyclones on Oct. 14, 2016. Forward Alex Lavoie tallied the shootout winner in a 3-2 victory over the Toledo Walleye to start the 2015-16 season on Oct. 16, 2015, and on Oct. 17, 2014 – the Fuel's inaugural game at Indiana Farmers Coliseum – the Fort Wayne Komets defeated Indy 5-4 in a shootout.
Keep The Suitcases Packed: Saturday marks the lone home game for the Fuel in the month of October, with the club playing six of their first seven games away from Indianapolis. Indy heads to Estero, Fla. next week for a three-game series with the Florida Everblades, taking place Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at Germain Arena. Following the trip down south, the Fuel make their first trip to Moline, Ill. to take on the Quad City Mallards on Nov. 3, before returning to Indiana Farmers Coliseum for a pair of home games Nov. 4 and 5.
Hildy's Homecoming: Just over year after his 33 saves helped Indy to an season-opening win over Cincinnati, goaltender Jake Hildebrand looks to once again take part in Opening Night in Indianapolis, though this time as a visitor. The Fuel's 2016-17 netminder returns to Indiana Farmers Coliseum Saturday for the first time since signing with the Oilers in the offseason. Hildebrand set single-season franchise records in wins (18), shutouts (4) and saves (1486) last season, posting an 18-28-5 record with a 3.75 goals against average and a .899 save percentage.
Inside the Matchup: The Fuel and Oilers meet Saturday for the first of three times in 2017-18, the first of two at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The two clubs split a four-game series last season, each side winning once and losing once on home ice. Indy has won two straight against Tulsa dating back to last season, claiming a 6-2 victory at BOK Center on Feb. 18, 2017 and a 3-2 win on Jan. 14 during the Oilers' last trip to Indianapolis.
Scouting Report: Tulsa arrives in Indianapolis after picking up its first points of the season Wednesday with a 5-2 victory in Quad City. The Oilers opened their schedule with a pair of losses last weekend, falling 5-3 to Kansas City Friday in their home opener before dropping a 5-4 road contest to the Mallards Saturday night.
Forward and St. Louis Blues prospect Connor Bleackley is off to a blazing start offensively, picking up three goals and two assists through two games. Defenseman Dmitrii Sergeev (4a) has chipped in at least one helper in each contest, while rookie goaltender Devin Williams stopped 32 of 34 shots Wednesday for his first professional victory.