Fuel try to snap skid Tuesday as Mavericks visit Indianapolis
Fanimation Game Preview: Fuel vs. MavericksDec 4, 2018
FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL VS. MAVERICKS
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 4 - 7:05 P.M.
INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM, INDIANAPOLIS
TICKETS: TICKETMASTER, INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM BOX OFFICE
BROADCAST INFO: INDYFUELHOCKEY.COM, ECHL.TV
THE MATCHUP: The Indy Fuel (9-10-0-0) make a quick stop on home ice Tuesday night as they take on the Kansas City Mavericks (12-5-1-0) at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Indy's lone home appearance this week precedes a critical 3-in-3 road swing starting Friday night in Kalamazoo.
Looking to snap a two game skid, the Fuel return to the Circle City for the second of four meetings against the Mavericks in 2018-19. Kansas City opened the season series with a decisive 7-2 victory at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena back on Oct. 27, scoring four goals in the final eight minutes of the first period to take a commanding early lead. In the all-time series between the two clubs, the Fuel hold a 5-11-0-0 record, including a 2-4-0-0 mark at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
LAST TIME OUT: The Fuel could not climb out of an early hole Saturday night as they fell to the Toledo Walleye by a 4-2 count Saturday night at Huntington Center. The Walleye scored two goals in the first two minutes of play – including the ice-breaker at the 40-second mark – to take control early, as Indy fell under the .500 mark for the first time since their Opening Night loss to Fort Wayne on Oct. 12. Brett Welychka scored a first-period shorthanded goal for the Fuel, while Kevin Dufour tallied his eighth marker of the season in the final moments of regulation time.
OFF THE SEE-SAW: Saturday's setback in Ohio marked the end of a span of 13 straight games stretching back to October 30 where Indy had alternated wins and losses. Suffering back-to-back defeats for the first time since a two-game skid from Oct. 27-30, the Fuel have been a resilient group this season, entering Tuesday's action with a 7-2 record in games immediately following a loss. Conversely, Indy has not won two straight games since a three-game winning streak from Oct. 13-20, sporting a 2-7 record in contests following a victory.
LESS-THAN-SPECIAL TEAMS: One primary reason the Fuel have struggled to string points together in the standings is the club's anemic play on special teams as of late. Indy has not scored a power play goal in seven straight games leading up to Tuesday's meeting with Kansas City, going 0-for-31 with the extra skater since Josh Shalla scored a first-period power play goal in a 3-2 win in Utah on Nov. 16. Boasting the best power play in the league last season, the Fuel are currently ranked 24th in the ECHL with a 12.9% success rate with the man advantage.
On the other side of the equation, the Fuel have given up power play goals to their opponents in four straight games and in seven of their last nine dating back to Nov. 10 against Cincinnati. Over its last 10 games, Indy's penalty kill is operating at 80.5%, down from the 84.1% clip it had over the first nine games of the season.
FAMILIAR FACES: A pair of former Fuel players will be making their first appearances this season as visitors at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Forward Darian Dziurzynski and defenseman Riley Sweeney both return to the Circle City as Mavericks, after playing important roles in Indy's historic playoff-clinching 2017-18 campaign. Now playing with his brother David, Dziurzynski ranks sixth in Kansas City scoring with six goals and five assists, after putting up 24 goals and 22 assists in 47 games with the Fuel last season. In 46 contests with Indy a year ago, Sweeney picked up two goals and nine assists.
HANDICAPPING THE PONIES: Kansas City makes its first of three trips to Indianapolis Tuesday in the heat of a fiercly contested race in the Mountain Division standings. The Mavericks currently sit in a third place tie with the Idaho Steelheads with 25 points, just five points back from Tulsa and Utah, who share the division lead with 30 points. Sporting a 6-4 record over its last 10 games, Kansas City snapped a three game skid on Saturday with a 6-4 victory over Tulsa.
Forward Jared VanWormer leads the Mavericks in scoring with 11 goals and 12 assists on the season, including four goals over his last three outings. In net, Mason McDonald – under contract with the Calgary Flames – has carried the bulk of the load this season, posting an 8-2 record in 10 appearances.