Indy Fuel Pit Stop – Week 11
Presented by Squealers Barbeque GrillDec 27, 2017
THE FUEL PICK UP THE PACE AS THEY CONTINUE THEIR QUEST WITH ZEST TO CLIMB IN THE STANDINGS
TOMMY OLCZYK ACHIEVES RARE FEAT; FIRES 3-GOALS SHORTHANDED HAT TRICK AGAINST CINCINNATI
4-GAMES IN 5-NIGHTS THIS HOLIDAY WEEK; HOME AGAIN SATURDAY NIGHT VS. FOES FROM CINCINNATI
LAST WEEK’S RESULTS: 2(1-1-0) 8-6
WED. DEC. 20 KALAMAZOO 2 AT FUEL 1.
SAT. DEC. 23 CINCINNATI 4 AT FUEL 7.
THIS WEEK’S GAMES: (4)
WED. DEC. 27 THE FUEL AT TOLEDO 7:15 PM
THUR. DEC. 28 THE FUEL AT KALAMAZOO 7:00 PM
SAT. DEC. 30 CINCINNATI AT THE FUEL 7:35 PM
SUN. DEC. 31 THE FUEL AT WHEELING 6:05 PM
NEXT HOME GAME: *** SATURDAY, DECEMBER 30TH VS. CINCINNATI 7:35 PM --- “LEGO NIGHT.” ***
THE FUEL IN REVIEW: In the week leading to the Christmas holiday, the Fuel fashioned a 2(1-1-0) record in their two starts with both outings having home ice and the Indiana Farmers Coliseum serving as the backdrop. Under the guidance of Head Coach Bernie John and Assistant Coach Ryan McGinnis, the men of Fuel ECHL pro hockey action broached the week’s home activities Wednesday night, guesting Western Conference Central Division rival Kalamazoo, falling short against the Wings, 2-1. Left wing Alex Wideman provided the lone firepower for the Fuel-men, authoring his 7th goal of the campaign. Wideman’s strike was stoked in the latter stages of the second stanza, diminishing the Indy deficit to the ultimate 2-1 final result. The Fuel and the Wings have now divided the initial two games of their 10-games’ season series at 2(1-1-0) with both bouts being staged and waged in Indianapolis. Saturday night, in their first clash of the campaign against another divisional foe in the form of Cincinnati, the Fuel’s offense was in high-gear as Indy dispatched the Cyclones, 7-4. A 3-goals’ second period barrage 4:23 apart catapulted the victors into an insurmountable 5-2 advantage as the Indy icers halted a 3-games’ losing spell and 2-games winless span at home. Left wing Tommy Olczyk made history for the Fuel and equaled history in the ECHL, and for that matter, all of pro hockey, firing a 3-goals’ shorthanded “hat trick” to fuse the Fuel full frontal scoring assault.
THE STATE OF THE FUEL: The Fuel commence this holiday week occupying 6th place in the ECHL’s Western Conference Central Division standings with a season’s record of 26(9-14-3) totaling 21-points. They have gained a 3-points’ advantage over 7th place Quad City 27(8-17-2)18 which is currently gripped in an 8-game winless skid; 8(0-7-1). Indy begins the busy week 8-points back of 5th place Kalamazoo 25(13-9-3)29 with the Wings having won 2-in a row and attaining a mark of 8(6-1-1) over their last 8-dates. The Fuel are 10-points in arrears of 4th place Kansas City 31(15-15-1)31 with the Mavericks recording a mark of 10(3-6-1) in the last 10-outings. For the remainder of the division: 1- Toledo 28(17-8-3)37; 2-Fort Wayne 26(17-7-2)36; the Komets have won 4-consecutively and are 10(9-1-0) in the last 10-gannes and 14(12-2-0) in the last 14-decisions. 3- Cincinnati 27(16-10-1)33. The Fuel have registered a record of 15(4-9-2) in 15-games within their own division; the breakdown: Toledo 3(0-3-0); Fort Wayne 3(0-3-0); Cincinnati 1(1-0-0); Kansas City 1(0-1-0); Kalamazoo 2(1-1-0); Quad City 5(2-1-2).
HOLIDAY PLAY: This week, the Fuel confront a rather daunting, demanding slate consisting of 4-games in 5-nights with 3-of those contests coming up in enemy territory. It all begins Wednesday night when the hometown team treks to Toledo for another round of on-ice hockey competition against the first place Walleye. The Fuel are 3(0-3-0) against the Toledoans thus far this season and 1(0-1-0) in the Ohio hamlet where Indy was nipped back on December 2nd in the last action between the two fractious foes, 3-2. Toledo has utterly dominated the season series since the Fuel’s genesis in the ECHL as Indy has posted a record of 20(2-18-0) against their Ohio rivals. It’s on to Kalamazoo on Thursday night for the first of 7-Fuel appearances at the Wings Event Center this season. Last season, the Fuel were 2(1-1-0) in two trips to “K-Town,” extracting a hard-earned 6-5 victory verdict in their last appearance there on 3/17/17. Mike Neal delivered a 3-goal “hat trick” for the winning team that night. For a second consecutive Saturday night Cincinnati furnishes the home foe for the Fuel on “LEGO Night” at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. This will be the Fuel’s lone home game for the week. Sunday, it’s back on the foreign ice roadways to spend New Year’s Eve in Wheeling for a rekindling of enmities against the Nailers. The Fuel are 3(1-2-0) in 3-duels with Wheeling and 1(0-1-0) in the West Virginia city.
CHECKING THE FUEL GAUGE: The past Saturday night’s exciting, entertaining 7-4 victory over Cincinnati halted Indy’s 3-game losing streak overall and their 2-games’ losing spell on home ice. They are 6(2-4-0) in the last half-dozen dates and 10(5-5-0) through the first 10-games of their 14-games’ December schedule. On home ice, the club has exceeded the .500 plateau at 15(8-7-0), having composed a 7(5-2-0) record in their last 7-starts on the homestead. Longest home streak has been 4-in a row; 4(4-0-0), duplicating their longest in that category from last year. On the road, the Fuel have faltered as their 11(1-7-3) record would suggest and attest. Presently, the Fuel are in the throes of a 3-game losing skein and 7-games winless span abroad; last 7(0-5-2). The last and lone triumph on foreign ice was 2-months ago, October 27th in Florida where they decisioned the first place Everblades, 5-2.
THE “TRICK” FROM TOMMY: Second year left wing Tommy Olczyk enjoyed an amazing record-breaking, history-making night last Saturday night at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. On the impetus of his electrifying 3-goals shorthanded “hat trick,” the Fuel dispensed with Cincinnati, 7-4. The former Penn State U. and USHL Sioux City Musketeers captain connected on SHG #1 early in the second period, at the 5:02 mark to advance and otherwise enhance his team’s lead to 4-2 before uncorking a pair of shorthanded bandit blasts at 5:03 and 19:52 of the third frame of the game to cement the success over the Cyclones. “Tommy O” also set a new single game standard for the Fuel in carding a brilliant +4 rating. Olczyk was hailed the game’s #1 Star and in the process, became the ECHL’s SHG leader with those 3-snipes. For the season; 24(8-2-10) with 2-PPG as well. Olczyk is the Fuel nomination for Sher-Wood/ECHL Player of the Week.
MARCOUX COOL: First-year goaltender Etienne Marcoux continues to dazzle with his puck-stopping “stupendo.” In his lone start of the week, despite incurring a 2-1 setback against the Kalamazoo Wings last Wednesday night, the former U. of New Brunswick standout was acclaimed the game’s #2 Star with another masterpiece in the form of a 42-saves enormous performance. For the campaign, Marcoux has posted a 9(4-4-1) record while his 2.26 GAA ranks as 4th best in the league. He continues to own the best SPCT in the ECHL with a brilliant mark of .942. Marcoux, once again, is the Fuel’s nomination for CCM/ECHL Goaltender of the Week.
DARIAN’S DYNAMIC DEBUT: Recently acquired left wing Darian Dziurzynski (zurr-ZIN-skee) enjoyed an outstanding debut the past Saturday night in his new team’s 7-4 domination of Cincinnati. The 6-1, 205lb rugged forward fired his first goal for the Fuel before adding the primary assist on line-mate’s Johnny McInnis second period snipe. For the game, the former Arizona Coyotes 5th round draft pick, engineered 1-goal, 1-assist for 2-points and a stellar +3 rating. He was honored as the game’s #3 Star.
PREMIUM POSITIVE PLUS PLAYERS: In Saturday night’s 7-4 decision over Cincinnati, the Fuel’s winning livery was luminous and lustrous with premium, positive plus players personnel. Tommy Olczyk (+4) and Cam Reid (+4) both set single game highs while Darian Dziurzynski (+3), Troy Vance (+3) and Johnny McInnis (+3) also carded supreme nights of plus performance. Rookie defenseman Anthony Cortese not only scored the game’s FG in the same game but also added a solid +2 rating.
POINTS PROMINENCE: Embarking on the holiday week, the Fuel list of their top scoring architects: 1- Cam Reid 24(7-12-19); 2- Alex Wideman 26(7-10-17); 3- Mike Neal 20(10-5-15); 4- Ryan Rupert 21(5-10-15); 5- Matt Rupert 26(6-7-13); 6- Tommy Olczyk 24(8-2-10); 7- Johnny McInnis 18(5-4-9); 8- Nathan Noel 16(4-5-9); 9- Reed Seckel 26(2-6-8); 10- Nolan Descoteaux 26(1-6-7); 11- Brandon Anselmini 11(1-6-7); 12- Zach Miskovic 26(3-3-6).
SPECIAL TEAMS TONIC: The special teams of the men of the Fuel have been sound and solid all season long, beginning with opening night back in mid-October. This week the power play opens ranked in the 13th position with a proficiency rating of 17.7%; at 17-96. In recent action, the extra man band is 0 for the last 7 and 1 for the last 15. Alex Wideman (3) Matt Rupert (3), Ryan Rupert (3) are the Fuel’s premier power play marksmen. In the penalty-killing department, the Fuel have been extraordinary, having climbed to 5th best in the league on an efficiency rating of a sparkling 87% with the opponents going 14-108. In the latest action, the Fuel have precluded 13-straight man advantages afforded the adversary and 33 of the last 35 for an efficiency rating of an outstanding 94.3%. With Tommy Olczyk’s remarkable 3-SHG “hat trick” Saturday night against Cincinnati, the Fuel, along with “Tommy O” established all-time club records in the categories of team and individual single game SHG prowess. Indy’s 8-SHG collectively as a team, lead the entire ECHL. The 8-SHG double their entire SHG output of last season (4).
MINDING THE MILESTONES MINT: Defenseman Nolan Descoteaux’s (199) next game will be the 200th of his professional career. Mike Neal (494) is 6-games away from the pro career 500. Defenseman Zack Miskovic (91) remains 9-assists shy of the career century plateau. Both center/left wing Reed Seckel and Ryan Rupert exceeded the 200-PIM of their pro careers the past week. Tommy Olczyk’s 3-goals SH/hat trick Saturday night represented his first 3-goal “hat trick” of his pro career. Left wing Matt Rupert has played 98-consecutive games for the Fuel, having never missed a game since his advent to Indy at the inception of the 2016-17 season.
FUEL FACTS: The Fuel’s 7-goals output in their Saturday night triumph over Cincinnati equaled their best offensive production of the season. They also sizzled 7 back on December 9th against Wichita in a 7-1 domination of the Thunder, also on home ice. When they scored 2-third period goals Saturday in the 7-4 win over Cincinnati, it marked the first time Indy had scored in the third period in 6-games, having been outscored until then, 7-0. When they score 4 or more, the Fuel sport an undefeated record of a perfect 5(5-0-0). In Wednesday’s 2-1 setback inflicted by visiting Kalamazoo, it marked the first time this season that the Fuel had surrendered 2-GA or less and suffered the setback; 10(8-1-1). The Fuel are 7(5-2-0) on home ice for the month of December.
THE FUEL / THE FAN: All this season, all Indy Fuel action, home and away, play-by-play, all the way, can be heard on the world-wide internet on WFNI-AM 1070thefan.com. “The Voice of the Fuel,” Terry Ficorelli will describe all the action, radio ice-side for the hometown team. This week’s broadcast schedule consists of 4-games in 5-nights with 3 of those being on alien ice. Wednesday night 12/27 at Toledo with broadcast set for 6:45 pm; Thursday night 12/28 from Kalamazoo at 6:30 pm; Saturday night, 12/30, Cincinnati at the Fuel with the broadcast at 7:00 pm and Sunday, 12/31, New Year’s Eve at Wheeling beginning at 5:30 pm.
INDY FUEL LIVE: The next edition of “INDY FUEL LIVE” is set for Wednesday night, January 17th from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm, live from Aspen Creek Grill in Noblesville. “The Voice of the Fuel,” Terry Ficorelli will be hosting Fuel special guests including Head Coach Bernie John and Assistant Coach Ryan McGinnis.
ECHL ALL-STAR TICKETS ON SALE: Individual tickets are now available for the 2018 CCM/All-Star Classic taking place at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum on January 15, 2018! Fans can secure their seats for the league’s mid-season showcase event by visiting ECHLAllStarClassic.com., the Indiana Farmers Coliseum Box Office r by calling (317) 925-FUEL.
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