Indy continues road trip with mid-week trip to Fort WayneFeb 14, 2018
GAME PREVIEW: FUEL AT KOMETS
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14 - 7:30 P.M.
ALLEN COUNTY WAR MEMORIAL COLISEUM, FORT WAYNE, IND.
BROADCAST INFO: 1070THEFAN.COM, ECHL.TV
The Story: The Indy Fuel (21-22-2-1) embark on the busiest stretch of their 2017-18 schedule Wednesday night when they make the trip up I-69 to visit the Fort Wayne Komets. Puck drop from the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum is at 7:30 p.m. ET, with coverage beginning at 7 p.m. on 1070TheFan.com/IndyFuel and ECHL.TV.
Starting Wednesday in Allen County, the Fuel will be playing four games in five days, part of a stretch that sees them play a total of eight times over the next 11 days. Three games into a season-long seven game road swing, Indy will head to Kansas City for a doubleheader on Friday and Saturday, before paying a visit to the Tulsa Oilers Sunday afternoon.
The Fuel started the extended trip away from home by picking up four of six possible points last weekend. After defeating the Quad City Mallards 4-1 Friday night, Indy split a two game set with the Kalamazoo Wings at Wings Event Center, falling 6-4 on Saturday before rebounding with a 4-2 win Sunday.
Currently in sixth place in the Central Divsion with 45 points, the Fuel enter Week 19 six points behind Kansas City for fifth, and 11 points back from Kalamazoo and Cincinnati for the fourth and final playoff berth.
Three points back from Toledo for the division lead, Fort Wayne comes into Wednesday with an 11-1-0-1 record over its last 13 games. The Komets have picked up points in seven straight games (6-0-0-1), outscoring their opponents by a 43-21 margin over that span. Sporting the ECHL's top-scoring offense (4.31 goals per game), Fort Wayne has talled three or more goals in 13 straight games, tallying five or more in 10 of them.
It's a Twin Thing: Fuel forwards and twin brothers Matt and Ryan Rupert have been clicking offensively recently. In three games last weekend, the Ruperts combined for four goals, five assists and a +4 rating. Matt has scored a goal in three straight outings, while Ryan enters Wednesday's action with assists in four consecutive games.
Tommy Boy: Since returning from the American Hockey League's Rockford IceHogs, goaltender Matt Tomkins has been stellar in net for Indy. The rookie netminder picked up victories in both his starts last weekend, stopping 84 of 87 shots – earning runner up recognition for the ECHL Goaltender of the Week. Overall this season, Tomkins has a 6-3 record in 10 appearances, with a 2.47 goals against average and a .939 save percentage.
Multi Point Inspection: The Fuel are 9-4 over their last 13 road games ... Making his debut with the Rockford IceHogs Tuesday night, forward Nathan Noel became the 29th player to play in the AHL after spending time with Indy. The rookie forward is the seventh player to see action with both the Fuel and IceHogs this season ... Forward Josh Shalla has points in four of his last five games (3g, 4a).
Inside the Matchup: Wednesday is the seventh of nine meetings between the Hoosier State rivals this season, and the third and final game taking place at the Memorial Coliseum. The Komets have taken five of the first six contests in the 2017-18 season series, though the Fuel's lone victory came during their previous trip to Allen County; a 2-1 decision on Jan. 6.
In the last encounter between these two clubs, Fort Wayne withstood a late Indy rally to take a 5-3 win at Indiana Farmers Coliseum on Jan. 23. Komets forward Mason Baptista leads the season series with nine points (4g, 5a) in six games, while Michael Neal paces either side with five goals.
Scouting Report: Forward Shawn Szydlowski leads the ECHL scoring race with 60 points (23g, 37a), picking up four goals and 16 assists over his last 11 games ... Fort Wayne's 17 home wins ranks third-most in the league ... The Komets have a +40 goal differential in the third period, the highest of any team in the ECHL ... Forward Dennis Kravchenko (12g, 20a) enters Wednesday on a five game point streak, tallying two goals and eight assists over the same span.