Fuel wrap up homestand with Sunday tilt against Kansas City
FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL VS. MAVERICKSMar 31, 2019
FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL VS. CYCLONES
SUNDAY, MARCH 31 - 3:05 PM
INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM, INDIANAPOLIS
BROADCAST INFO: INDYFUELHOCKEY.COM, ECHL.TV
THE MATCHUP: The Indy Fuel (33-31-2-2) close out a season-long five game homestand Sunday afternoon as they welcome the Kansas City Mavericks (33-30-3-2) to Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Sunday marks the final Family Fun Day of the season, as fans are invited to hit the ice during a free postgame skate with the Fuel. Tickets are still available at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum box office or through Ticketmaster.
The Fuel's drive for their second-consecutive Kelly Cup Playoff berth hit a road bump on Saturday, as Indy suffered a tight 4-3 loss to the Central Division Champion Cincinnati Cyclones. Making matters worse, the Kamalazoo Wings picked up a 3-0 win in Toledo Saturday night, stretching their lead over the Fuel to five points in the race for the final postseason position in the division. With only four games left to play, Indy will need plenty of outside help in order to sneak into the Central's top four.
The first step for the Fuel is to pick up a victory Sunday against a Kansas City club that punched its own playoff ticket on Saturday with a 5-2 triumph in Fort Wayne. The Mavericks visit the Circle City to conclude a grueling 13-day, eight-game road trip that included stops in South Carolina, Greenville, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Toledo and Fort Wayne. Despite losing each of the first six games of the trip – part of a seven game losing skid spanning back to March 16 – Kansas City's win Saturday in Allen County was all it needed to lock up the fourth seed in the Mountain Division.
Sunday marks the fourth and final meeting of the season between the Fuel and Mavericks, the first time the two clubs have squared in nearly two and a half months. Indy enters the series finale with a 2-1-0-0 record, with both wins coming on home ice. In the previous meeting between the Fuel and Mavericks, a 36-save performance from Matt Tomkins led the way to a 4-2 Indy triumph on Jan. 8 at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
LAST TIME OUT: Two third-period goals in a span of 1:28 helped the Cincinnati Cyclones seize the lead as they defeated the Fuel 4-3 Saturday night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Both teams tallied twice in the first period, with the 2-2 stalemate lasting until early in the third when Ryan Rupert gave Indy a 3-2 advantage before the late Cyclones push. Radovan Bondra and Logan Nelson also scored for the Fuel, which saw a four-game home winning streak come to an end.
THE FINAL FOUR (GAMES): With the 2018-19 regular season winding down, Sunday is the first of four remaining games for the Fuel. Following today's three-in-three finale, Indy will wrap up its schedule next week with three games in four days starting with a home-and-home doubleheader with the Fort Wayne Komets. The Fuel travel to Allen County on Wednesday, April 3, before returning home for the club's home finale Friday. Indy concludes the regular season schedule on Saturday with one final trip to WesBanco Arena to take on the Wheeling Nailers.
MAT KEEPS GOING: Fuel forward Mathew Thompson continued his late-season scoring surge with an assist on Radovan Bondra's first period goal. The rookie has registered points in six straight games and 10 of his last 11 since March 8, putting up seven goals and nine assists over that span. A first-year forward out of Bolton, Ontario, Thompson ranks third in Fuel scoring this season with 19 goals and 27 assists in 61 games.
SCOUTING THE MAVERICKS: The Mavericks are led offensively by a pair of 50-point scorers in Rocco Carzo (18g, 38a) and Greg Betzold (25g, 28a), while 2017-18 Fuel forward Darian Dziurzynski leads the club with 27 goals on the season. Defenseman Willie Raskob leads all ECHL blueliners with 38 assists this season, while forward Corey Durocher has four goals and three assists over his last five outings. In net, Mason McDonald has carried the load for Kansas City, sporting a record of 21-10-2 alongside a 2.57 goals against average, a .916 save percentage and a league-leading four shutouts.
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