Indy Fuel Pit Stop – Week 12
Presented by Squealers Barbeque GrillJan 2, 2018
FUEL ON SERIOUS STANDINGS SURGE; ATTAIN FIRST THREE GAME WIN STREAK OF THE SEASON
INDY ASSEMBLES FIRST SET OF BACK-TO-BACK ROAD VICTORIES; POST WINNING DECEMBER AT 14(8-6-0)
MAJOR TRUE TEST ON TAP THIS WEEKEND; NEW YEAR STARTS WITH TWO GAMES’ AGAINST FORT WAYNE
LAST WEEK’S RESULTS: 4(3-1-0) 12-11
WED. DEC. 27 FUEL 2 AT TOLEDO 5.
THUR. DEC. 28 FUEL 5 AT KALAMAZOO 3.
SAT. DEC. 30 CINCINNATI 1 AT FUEL 2.
SUN. DEC. 31 FUEL 3 AT WHEELING 2.
THIS WEEK’S GAMES: (2)
FRI. JAN. 5 FORT WAYNE AT THE FUEL 7:35 PM
SAT. JAN. 6 THE FUEL AT FORT WAYNE 7:30 PM
NEXT HOME GAME: *** FRIDAY, JANUARY 5TH VS. FORT WAYNE KOMETS 7:35 PM ***
THE FUEL RAVE REVIEW: The Indy Fuel have climaxed the calendar year of 2017 with a crescendo. Under the direction of Head Coach Bernie John and Assistant Coach Ryan McGinnis, the men of Fuel hockey have come alive with their best concerted progress of the current campaign of 2017-18. Confronting a daunting, demanding docket consisting of 4-games in 5-nights in the holiday week and last week of year, the Fuel were at the top of their collective game, posting an impressive 4(3-1-0) record, winning those 3-games in succession. Though, launching the busy week rather inauspiciously due to a 5-2 setback in Toledo against the divisional kingpin Walleye, the icers of Indy soldiered on with a trio of triumphs. It all started for the club Thursday night in Kalamazoo where the Fuel’s second rally of the contest from a 3-2 deficit achieved a thrilling 5-3 victory verdict over the divisional rivals Wings. Recently acquired Darian Dziurzynski (2-1-3) spurred the team’s zesty assault and rookie Stephen Collins (1-2-3) caged the ultimate GWG on the PP in the final frame. Reed Seckel sparked the resurgence with the GTG late in the middle period. Alex Wideman scored the game’s FG and Mike Neal and Ryan Rupert both recorded 2-assists. “ET” Marcoux brushed aside 30-shots to garner the victory. Returning home Saturday night, the Fuel trumped another division rival in a tight taut-fraught, 2-1 triumph over Cincinnati. Johnny McInnis second period PPG captured the conquest for the hometown team after Dzuirzynski had lifted his club into a 1-0 early lead in the opening period. Marcoux was star-studded with 34-saves. Back on the road New Year’s Eve, the Fuel closed 2017 and rang in the New Year with a late, dramatic, suspenseful, 3-2 triumph at the expense of the Nailers in Wheeling. For a second straight night, the Indy power play proved to be the difference as first-year defenseman Anthony Cortese uncorked a cannon at 16:08 of the third period to snap a 1-1 before another rookie defenseman, Riley Sweeney found the empty net with his second goal of the night and the ultimate GWG. Marcoux, yet one more time, carried the mail for the victors with a brilliant 43-saves masterpiece, earning the game’s #1 Star for the second consecutive night.
THE STATE OF THE FUEL: Having reached the 30-games plateau of the 2017-18 ECHL campaign with an improving record of 30(12-15-3) totaling 27-points, the Fuel-men have crept within 4-points of 5th place Kalamazoo 28(14-11-3)31 with the Wings holding 2-games in hand. Indy has climbed within 10-points of 4th place Kansas City 35(18-16-1)35 with the Fuel enjoying the potential luxury of 5-games in hand on the Mavericks. “Bernie’s Boys” commence the New Year 12-points in arrears of 3rd place Cincinnati 31(19-11-1)39. The Cyclones have won 7 of their last 9-outings with both blemishes inflicted by the Fuel. The top two teams in the Western Conference Central Division are: 1- Toledo 32(20-9-3)43 and Fort Wayne 30(20-8-2)42. The Indy sextet have been gradually upgrading their record within their own divisional alignment, having authored an 18(6-10-2) composite. The breakdown within their own division: Fuel are 2(2-0-0) against Cincinnati; 3(2-1-0) vs. Kalamazoo and 5(2-1-2) when opposing 7th place Quad City 30(8-19-3)19. The Fuel are 8(0-8-0) combined against Toledo 4(0-4-0); Fort Wayne 3(0-3-0) and Kansas City 1(0-1-0).
TRUE TEST ON TAP: The galvanized and revitalized condition of this season’s Fuel edition will undergo the true litmus test coming up this weekend when they lock horns in a critical and pivotal two-games, home-and-home series in as many nights against their archenemies from Fort Wayne. Though winless in their three previous encounters, the Fuel will look to sustain this current surge when they guest the Komets on Friday night at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum in a 7:35 pm showdown duel. The two teams will then sojourn back to Fort Wayne for a 7:30 pm encore engagement on Saturday night. Indy has found the Fort Wayners to be its nagging nemesis, having gained a scant single victory in the last dozen decisions; 12(1-8-3). At home, the Fuel are 7(1-4-2) in their 7-decisions; on the road, they are winless in 8-straight dates; 8(0-7-1). The third period has represented the Fuel’s downfall against their principal archrivals as the Komets have outscored the Fuel, 31-5 in the last 12-meetings.
INDY INTEL INDEX: The fired-up Fuel have achieved their first 3-games’ win streak of the season; last 3(3-0-0), having outscored the opposition competition, 10-6. Moreover, they have registered back-to-back victories on the road for the initial time in this season. Last 2-games abroad: 2(2-0-0), out-goaling the home standing opponents, 8-5. Until the past week, Indy had garnered only 1-victory in hostile territory in a dozen dates. In fact, when they ambushed the Wings in Kalamazoo the past Thursday night, it marked Indy’s first foreign ice success since October 27th, a span of 2-months and 1-day. Furthermore, overall, the Fuel are 5(4-1-0) over their last 5-games; last 5(4-1-0), outscoring the opposition, 19-15. Indy concluded its 14-games’ December schedule with its first winning month of the season at 14(8-6-0); at home 8(6-2-0), grudgingly surrendering only 17-GA for a GAA of 2.12. Included for December, was a season’s best 4-games home win skein; 4(4-0-0); their longest of the season. Home record for the season; 16(9-7-0); Road record: 14(3-8-3).
“DOUBLE ‘D’ DYNAMIC: Six-year pro Darian Dziurzynski has immediately paid dynamic dividends for the hometown team since his procurement from Rapid City. The 6-1 205lb former 5th round draft choice of the NHL Arizona Coyotes, has been fostering a flourish since his advent to the Fuel lineup. The rough, rugged, rock-ribbed left wing has engineered 6-points in his first 5-games for the Fuel; 5(4-2-6). The past week, he was hailed and heralded the game’s #1 Star as his club launched its 3-games win streak through a hard-earned 5-3 decision Thursday night over the Wings in Kalamazoo. Dziurzynski essayed (2-1-3) with 6-SOG, delivering the game’s key touch-in-the-clutch, FG and later connecting on the insurance goal to cement the success. On Saturday, he attained #2 Star honors as he, again, scored the game’s FG early in the opening period to produce a Fuel lead which they never relinquished. For the week: 4(2-2-4) with a +2 rating and 17-SOG. Dziurzynski is the Fuel nomination for Sher-Wood / ECHL Player of the Week.
THE SOUL OF GOAL: Rookie phenom Etienne Marcoux has been a brilliant talent discovery for the Fuel and Head Coach Bernie John. The former U. of New Brunswick standout enjoyed an extraordinary week of puck prevention attention. With fellow puck-stoppers Collin Delia and Matt Tomkins both on recall to AHL Rockford, the Laval, PQ product assertively took the reins and shouldered the ambitious assignment of 4-games in 5-days with 3 of those contests of the foreign affairs variety. Marcoux met the challenge masterfully and majestically, posting a 4(3-1-0) record with a nifty and thrifty 2.50 GAA and sterling .936 SPCT. At the focal point of his club’s current 3-games’ win skein, he was acclaimed the game’s #1 Star for two consecutive nights; the 2-1 home win Saturday night against Cincinnati and the 3-2 decision in Wheeling on New Year’s Eve. Marcoux, yet one more time, is the Fuel’s nomination for CCM/ECHL Goaltender of the Week.
MAGIC MIKE: Veteran center Mike Neal was a veritable paragon of consistency, efficiency and proficiency for the month of December. The 9-year consummate pro emerged as his club’s premier point producing forward for the Fuel’s month of December. Playing a major, key role in all 14-December outings, the team captain collected 13-points on 6-goals, 7-assists; 14(6-7-13) Included in his points’ profile were 2-GWG, 2-FG and two 2-goal games. Additionally, the native of Whitby, Ontario orchestrated one 3-games’ goal-scoring streak and one 3-games point streak. Currently, in his last 5-games; 5(0-5-5). His 10-goals are foremost for the Fuel for the season. For the month, he was named the game’s #1 Star twice, the #2 Star twice and the game’s #3 Star on one occasion. Neal is the Fuel’s nomination for ECHL Player of the Month.
“ET” ELECTRIC: More from goaltender “ET’ Marcoux and his seal of good goalkeeping. For the month of December, the human puck barricade saw action in 9 of his team’s 14-games including a total of 8-starts. Posting a record of 8(5-3-0)) Marcoux recorded a frugal GAA of 2.07 and SPCT of .941. For the season, his 7-wins, 13(7-5-1), are the most for the club. His 2.32 GAA rank as 4th best in the league while his .940 SPCT continues to be the best of the rest in the ECHL. Marcoux is also the Fuel’s nomination for both ECHL Goaltender and Rookie of the Month.
PIVOT POSITION PROWESS: Center Ryan Rupert continues to be one of the unsung heroes for the Fuel at this hour of the season. For the month of December, the Grand Bend, Ontario prodigy emerged prominently and dominantly as his team’s second leading scoring architect. In 13-games, he collected 12-points on 2-goals, and team-high 10-assists. Included in his December points’ portfolio were two 3-games’ assists’ streaks of 3(0-5-5) from 12/9/17 – 12/14/17 as well as his current skein composed of 3(0-4-4) from 12/28 to the present. For the season, Ryan Rupert has climbed into a tie for the #2 spot in team-wide scoring with (5-14-19). His 14-helpers also own the top perch for the Fuel.
THE ALEX INDEX: Last season’s Team MVP and All-Star Alex Wideman is rising to the occasion as a major catalyst in the Fuel’s renaissance. The former USHL Indiana Ice standout completed December with 14(3-6-9), engineering a team’s season-best 6-games’ point streak of 6(3-4-7). In addition, he percolated the all-important game’s FG on 2-consecutive nights for his team. In the process, Wideman has catapulted to the top of the Fuel scoring derby with 30(9-11-20). Moreover his 8-power play points on (3-5-8) leads the Fuel.
STEPHEN STAR-STUDDED: Right wing Stephen Collins is making the most of his opportunity to play for the Fuel. Having been deployed rather sparingly and sporadically since his arrival on the Fuel hockey scene, the two-time NCAA Division III Player of the Year from SUNY-Geneseo, has authored a statement from Stephen sparking his club’s 3-game win streak. Collins is currently on a 3-games’ point streak, corresponding with the win streak; 3(1-4-5) including (1-2-3) TBG/PPG/GWG and the game’s #2 Star in the Fuel’s 5-3 victory last Thursday night in Kalamazoo.
FOREMOST FOR FUEL: As we begin the New Year of 2018, the Fuel’s leading scorers in order: 1- Alex Wideman 30(9-11-20); 2- Cam Reid 28(7-12-19); 3- Ryan Rupert 23(5-14-19); 4- Mike Neal 24(10-8-18); 5- Matt Rupert 30(6-8-14); 6- Johnny McInnis 22(6-5-11); 7- Darian Dziurzynski 18(5-6-11); 8- Tommy Olczyk 28(8-2-10); 9- Nathan Noel 17(4-5-9); 10- Reed Seckel 30(3-6-9); 11- Nolan Descoteaux 30(1-8-9); 12- Stephen Collins 8(1-6-7); 13- Zack Miskovic 30(4-3-7).
SPECIAL TEAMS SPECIAL: The Fuel specialty teams have been particularly prominent all this season. The power play prowess has been kinetic and consistent. Indy opens the New Year with the league’s 6th ranked extra man squadron, operating at an even, impressive 20% at 22-110. The power play is 2 for the last 5; 40% and 4 for the last 10; 40%. It is also 5 for the last 20; 25% and 6 for the last 28; 21.4%. Indy’s 22-PPG have been scored in the team’s first 30-games of this season. Last season, the Fuel connected on only 28-PPG for the full 72-games’ schedule. Power play leaders; Alex Wideman (3); Ryan Rupert (3); Matt Rupert (3). In the penalty-killing category, the Fuel rank a lofty 4th best in the loop, operating at an efficiency rating of 86.7% as the opponents are 16-119. The opposition is 2 for the last 7; 71.4%; 2 for the last 24; 88% and 4 for the 46; 87%. The Fuel share the league leadership in SHG with 8. Tommy Olczyk’s 3-SHG are tied for the league-leadership. Ryan Rupert (2), Nathan Noel (2) and Matt Rupert (1) have also choreographed SHG.
THE MILESTONES MILL: Left wing Matt Rupert played his 100th consecutive Fuel game on 12/28/17 at Kalamazoo, having never-ever missed a Fuel game since his advent to the Indy pro hockey scene at the inception of the 2016-17 season. Center/left wing Reed Seckel played his 150th pro career game on 12/30/17 on home ice against Cincinnati. Center Mike Neal (498) is 2-games shy of pro career #500. Defenseman Garrett Clarke (989) is 11-PIM away from 1,000-PIM for his career. Center Cam Reid (189) is 11-PIM from 200-PIM. First-year pros Stephen Collins and Riley Sweeney each notched their first pro goals during the Fuel’s current 3-games’ win streak this week. Collins strike came 12/28 in Kalamazoo while Sweeney scored his first 2-goals New Year’s Eve in Wheeling with his first one tying the game and his second pro goal ever being the GWG as well. Defenseman Zack Miskovic (91) is 9-assists away from career 100.
FUEL FACTS: The last 3-times that the Fuel have battled Wheeling, all 3-games have been by replica results of 3-2 with the Fuel winning the first and third ones. The Fuel are 14(6-5-3) in 1-goal games; 7(5-2-0) at home and 7(1-3-3) on the road. When they score 4 or more, the Fuel are undefeated at a perfect 6(6-0-0). When they allow 2-GA or less, the Fuel are 11(9-1-1). Indy has yielded 1-GA 4-times this season with ‘ET” Marcoux in goal for 3 of those games. Though they have been outshot in 21 of their first 30-games, the Fuel have collected 9 of their 12-wins when they are outshot. In their 3-2 triumph New Year’s Eve at Wheeling, all 3-Fuel goals were scored by defensemen; Riley Sweeney (2) and Anthony Cortese (1). During their current 3-games’ win streak, the Fuel power play has produced the key, clutch goal leading to victory. In order, Stephen Collins (PPG) third period in Kalamazoo 12/28 to break the 3-3 tie; Johnny McInnis (PPG) 12/30 in 2-1 win over Cincinnati; Anthony Cortese (PPG) 12/31, breaking the tie to win in Wheeling.
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 be describing all the action, radio ice-side for the hometown team. This week’s broadcast schedule consists of 2-games in 2-nights in the form of a showdown two-games, home-and-home series against the Fuel’s principal archrivals, the Fort Wayne Komets. The broadcast for the first game of the series is set for Friday night at 7:00 pm, originating from home ice and the Indiana Farmers Coliseum with the encore duel on the docket for Saturday night from Fort Wayne with the pre-game show set for 7:00 pm as well.
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 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 or by calling (317) 925-FUEL.
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