Fuel try to move into playoff position with win in Kansas City

Apr 3, 2018

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GAME PREVIEW: FUEL AT MAVERICKS

TUESDAY, APRIL 3 - 7:35 P.M.

INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM, INDIANAPOLIS

TICKETS: TICKETMASTER, INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM BOX OFFICE

BROADCAST INFO: 1070THEFAN.COMECHL.TV

The Story: The Indy Fuel (34-29-4-1) can take over the fourth seed in the ECHL's Central Division with a win Tuesday night over the Kansas City Mavericks (33-30-3-2) at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena. Puck drop is slated for 8:05 p.m. ET from Independence, Mo., with coverage starting live at 7:45 p.m. on 1070TheFan.com/IndyFuel and ECHL.TV. 

Entering the final week of the regular season just a single point behind Kalamazoo for the fourth and final Kelly Cup Playoff berth in the Central, the Fuel can move in front of the idle Wings with a victory on Tuesday. Searching for the first postseason appearance in franchise history, Indy has caught fire in recent weeks, picking up a pair of home wins over the weekend to extend a point streak to a season-long six games (4-0-2-0).

The Fuel took over fifth place in the Central with a 6-3 win over Kansas City Friday at Indiana Farmers Coliseum, before an emphatic 5-1 triumph over the second-seeded Fort Wayne Komets on Saturday. A second consecutive two-goal performance from forward Josh Shalla helped Indy build a commanding 5-0 lead through two periods in Saturday's regular season finale with the Komets, while goaltender Étienne Marcoux stopped 33 of 34 shots in the other end.

With four games left on their schedule, the Fuel's magic number for securing the fourth spot in the Central sits at eight (any combination of points gained by Indy or lost by Kalamazoo). Following Tuesday's tilt in Missouri, Indy closes the regular season with a three-game weekend at Indiana Farmers Coliseum; welcoming Cincinnati and Toledo on Friday and Saturday before a potential playoff play-in game Sunday against Kalmazoo. 

Not to be counted out, the Mavericks are still right in the thick of the playoff race as well. With a 6-3 triumph over the Tulsa Oilers on Monday night, Kansas City rose back into a fifth place tie alongside Indy with 73 points – though the Fuel own the tie-breaker (more regulation/overtime wins) and have a game in hand. After Tuesday's battle at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena, the Mavericks head west to finish their regular season slate with a two-game set against the Utah Grizzlies.

CENTRAL DIVISION STANDINGS

Rank Team Games Left W L OTL SOL PTS ROW
1 xy - Toledo 2 49 16 3 2 103 48
2 x - Fort Wayne 3 44 19 5 1 94 43
3 Cincinnati 3 38 28 3 0 79 36
4 Kalamazoo 3 34 29 4 2 74 34
5 Indy 4 34 29 4 1 73 32
6 Kansas City 3 34 30 3 2 73 31

(Top four teams qualify for the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs, x - clinched playoff berth, y - clinched division)

Shalla Shall Score: Leading Indy's scoring attack in the club's two big wins over the weekend was forward Josh Shalla (24g, 21a). The sniper tallied a pair of goals in each game, while picking up an assist in Friday's victory against the Mavericks. Now the leading goal-scorer in franchise history, Shalla has found the back of the net in seven of his last nine outings, piling up 13 total points (10g, 3a) over that span. 

Multi-Point Inspection: Indy's top-ranked power play is 9-for-25 (36.0%) over the last six games, scoring multiple power play goals in three of its last four ... Saturday's win was the Fuel's 34th of the season, breaking a previous club record of 33 set in 2015-16 ... Indy's next point will break a franchise single-season record set in 2014-15 ... Forward Logan Nelson (7g, 25a) has points in five of his last six games (3g, 6a) ... Goaltender Étienne Marcoux has won six straight starts, dating back to Feb. 22.

Inside The Matchup: The Fuel hold a 3-1 edge in the 2017-18 season series with Kansas City, which comes to a close Tuesday. The two teams are meeting for the second time in five days, with Indy taking a 6-3 victory at Indiana Farmers Coliseum on Friday. In their last trip to Independence, the Fuel swept a two-game weekend set with the Mavericks, winning 4-2 on Feb. 16 and 4-3 in a shootout the following night. 

Scouting Report: Rookie forward Jared VanWormer (21g, 20a) has 13 points (7g, 6a) over his last eight games ... Mavericks forward Shawn Pauly (24g, 17a) has registed at least a point in 10 of his last 11 outings, racking up nine goals and five assists during that span ... Kansas City is 7-1 over its last eight home games.

ECHL MEDIA KIT

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