Indy Fuel Pit Stop – Week 13
Presented by Squealers Barbeque GrillJan 8, 2018
THE FUEL IMPROVEMENT MOVES FORWARD IN PROMISING FASHION; DIVIDE 2-GAME SET VS. FORT WAYNE
INDY ROAD WINNING STREAK REACHES 3-IN A ROW; OVERALL FUEL 5(4-1-0) LAST 5; 7(5-2-0) LAST 7-GAMES
ROAD WARFARE CONTINUES THIS WEEK; FUEL TRAVEL TO QUAD CITY FOR 2-GAMES’ SERIES VS. MALLARDS
LAST WEEK’S RESULTS: 2(1-1-0) 6-7
FRI. JAN. 5 FORT WAYNE 6 AT FUEL 4.
SAT. JAN. 6 FUEL 2 AT FORT WAYNE 1.
THIS WEEK’S GAMES: (2)
FRI. JAN. 12 THE FUEL AT QUAD CITY 8:00 PM
SAT. JAN. 13 THE FUEL AT QUAD CITY 8:00 PM
*** THE RADIO BROADCASTS FROM QUAD CITY AT 7:30 PM ON WFNI-AM 1070THEFAN.COM ***
NEXT HOME GAMES: *** FRI. JAN. 19TH VS. ALLEN 7:35 PM; SAT. JAN. 20TH VS. CINCINNATI 7:35 PM ***
THE FUEL IN REVIEW: Continuing their steady, gradual on-ice improvement, the Indy Fuel have launched the calendar year of 2018 similarly to the manner in which they culminated 2017. Under the auspices of Head Coach Bernie John and Assistant Coach Ryan McGinnis, the men of Fuel ECHL hockey renown took another major giant step forward when they resiliently earned an even split of a critical and pivotal two-games’ home-and-home series against their principal archenemies, the Fort Wayne Komets. In the process, the Fuel advanced their record within 3-games of the .500 barrier at 32(13-16-3) totaling 29-points. To review the weekend set in tackling the Fort Wayners, the Fuel-men trembled in game one Friday night on home ice at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum, falling to the Ks, 6-4. A Fort Wayne 3-goals’ unanswered opening period outburst told the tale of the tape in this contest. Indy’s first demonstration of resiliency and buoyancy was apparent as it outscored the visitors over the latter 2-periods, 4-3. Josh Shalla marked his return to the Fuel aggregation nation by propelling a pair of goals while line-mate Mike Neal (1-1-2) PPG and Darian Dziurzynski each caged singletons. Reciprocating by sojourning to Fort Wayne Saturday night, the Fuel overcame a late second period 1-0 deficit to stun the home standing Komets, 2-1. Cam Reid knotted matters at 18:20 of the middle stanza before Ryan Rupert made connection 2:04 later at the :24 mark of the first minute of the third stanza to break the tie and extract the triumph in gigantic and dramatic fashion.
FIRST FOR FUEL IN FORT WAYNE: The Fuel attained a major breakthrough when they extracted a hard-earned 2-1 triumph Saturday night at Fort Wayne. In the four-year history of the Indy Fuel’s existence, the victory represented the first-ever, outright, in regulation time at Memorial Coliseum in 18-lifetime appearances there. Until Saturday night, the Fuel had registered a record of 17(3-13-1) in 17-previous decisions but all 3 of those victory verdicts were attained in extra time; either overtime or the OTSO. Moreover, the Saturday night grand success halted an Indy 8-games’ winless spell in the home den of their nagging nemesis; 8(0-7-1). Compositely, incorporating both home and road bouts with the Komets, the Fuel Saturday night victory was only their second in the last 14-clashes; 14(2-9-3).
THE STATE OF THE FUEL: After the first 32-games of the current campaign, the Fuel have compiled an ever-improving record of 32(13-16-3) totaling 29-points. Not only have the Fuel hockey icers fortified their grip on 6th place in the ECHL’s Western Conference Central Division standings but have also sustained its surge in the overall divisional alignment. Indy’s improvement within the division has been considerable. After posting an initial log of 15(3-10-2), the Fuel have been re-invigorated, having enhanced their record to 20(7-11-2). “Bernie’s Boys” are 5(4-1-0) in their last quintet of starts against their fellow fractious foes from the same division. The breakdown: Cincinnati 2(2-0-0); Kalamazoo 3(2-1-0); Quad City 5(2-1-2); Fort Wayne 5(1-4-0)’ Toledo 4(0-4-0); Kansas City 1(0-1-0).
QUAD CITY SOJOURN: This weekend, the Fuel continue their current slate of 3-consecutive dates abroad in hostile territory as they junket to Moline, IL where they will be the guests of the Quad City Mallards in a two-games series on both Friday and Saturday nights. Indy is 5(2-1-2) in 5-previous decisions when engaged in combat with the Mallards. However, they will still be in quest with zest for their initial success in the home of the “Greenheads” where the club is 3(0-1-2), having salvaged single points through a pair of extra time encounters.
COMING SOON TO INDY: Following the two-games’ expedition to the Quad Cities, the Fuel, after a two-weeks’ absence, will return home for a Friday night / Saturday night weekend combination for the Indy hockey nation. Next home attraction for Fuel hockey action is on the docket for Friday night, January 19th against the perennial power house Allen Americans of Allen, Texas. The next night, 1/20/18, it will be another renewal of antipathies as the Fuel lock antlers against the Cincinnati Cyclones. Both games are set for 7:35 pm at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
CHECKING THE FUEL GAUGE: The Fuel resurgence and renaissance have been remarkable and redoubtable. To amplify and magnify, in dividing the first 32-games accordingly; first 16-games, the team assembled a less-than exemplary record of 16(4-9-3); the last 16-games; 16(9-7-0). In the most recent activity, the Fuel are 5(4-1-0) in their last 5-episodes; last 7(5-2-0). On the road, the club is riding the wave of a season’s best 3-games’ win streak; 3(3-0-0), grudgingly surrendering a scant 6-GA in that span for a GAA of 2.00. Indy’s 3-games’ road win skein matches their longest of last season. At home, the Fuel have also excelled as their 9(6-3-0) record would reflect over their 9-home performances.
THE SECOND COMING: Prior to the past weekend, the Fuel were further fortified and galvanized with the return of their premiere goal cannoneer from last year, left wing Josh Shalla. Having launched the current campaign in the EIHL with the Nottingham Panthers, the 26-year-old, 6-year pro, marked his second coming to Indy by firing a pair of goals and a sharp +2 rating despite his team’s 6-4 Friday setback inflicted by Fort Wayne. Perhaps, it was apropos that the 32-goals architect from a season ago would snipe against the Komets. Before being blanked in his club’s monumental triumph the next night in Komets’ land, Shalla has achieved notoriety as the kinetic “Komets Killer.” He astoundingly had assembled a majestic 9-games’ goal-scoring streak composed of 13-goals, 4-assists, 17-points. Included in those prolific numbers are 6-FG, 4-PPG and a brilliant, Fuel club record 4-goals’ masterpiece on 12/27/16 in Fort Wayne. For this week, 2(2-0-2) with 10-SOG and +2 rating. Shalla is the Fuel’s nomination for Sher-Wood / ECHL Player of the Week.
MARCOUX TO RESCUE: Rookie sensation “ET” Marcoux enjoyed one of the best weeks of his early pro career. In addition to being named ECHL Rookie of the Month for December as well as being selected for the ECHL All-Star Classic on January 15th here in Indianapolis, the former standout at the U. of New Brunswick, was the man of the moment in the Saturday night win in Fort Wayne. He rebuffed 35 of 36-Komets shots, extinguishing the league’s top scoring offense after the 5:01 mark of the opening period. Marcoux has been in goal throughout this present Fuel 3-games’ road win streak, yielding only 6-GA for a GAA of 2.00. For the season, his 8-wins are Fuel foremost while his 2.53 GAA ranks 10th in the league and his .935 SPCT continues to be the best in the league. Marcoux is the Fuel nomination for CCM/ECHL Goaltender of the Week.
ALL-STAR STUDS: With the annual ECHL All-Star Classic set for next Monday, January 15th here in Indianapolis at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum, the hosting team, the Fuel, will boast of two All-Star representatives. Indy goaltender Etienne Marcoux will be joined by 9-year pro veteran and team captain, center Mike Neal. Neal currently tops the Fuel with 11-goals among his 20-total points; 26(11-9-20). In his last 7-games; 7(1-6-7). Neal also has delivered 2-GWG, 4-FG, 2-PPG and two 2-goals’ games.
BALANCED SCORING SCOURGE: Another one of the primary reasons for the resurgence of the men of the Fuel crest on their chest has been the prevalence of balanced scoring prowess and punch. 1- Alex Wideman 32(9-13-22); 2- Mike Neal 26(11-9-20); 3- Cam Reid 30(8-12-20); 4- Ryan Rupert 25(6-14-20); 5- Matt Rupert 32(6-9-15); 6- Johnny McInnis 24(7-6-13); 7- Darian Dziurzynski 20(6-6-12); 8- Tommy Olczyk 29(8-2-10); 9- Nolan Descoteaux 32(1-9-10); 10- Nathan Noel 17(4-5-9); 11- Reed Seckel 32(3-6-9); 12- Stephen Collins 9(1-6-7); 13- Zach Miskovic 32(4-3-7).
UNEVEN STRENGTH STOUT: The special teams have been bright beacons for the Fuel hockey club all through this season. Despite having a 5-games’ streak in power play goal prowess halted in Saturday’s triumph in Fort Wayne, the Fuel man advantage continues to be proficient and prolific. Indy enters the new week, operating at 19%; 23-115. They are 3 for the last 15; 20%; 5 for the last 20; 25%; 6 for the last 24; 25%. The Fuel’s 23-PPG through 32-games are 5-shy from equaling all last season’s output of 28-PPG. Meanwhile, the penalty-killing cast continues to deliver dynamically. Ranked a lofty 4th in the league, the Fuel are operating at 86.5% efficiency with the opponents going 17-126. In recent action, the Fuel have stifled 28 of the last 31; 90.3% and 49 of the last 54; 92.6%. Indy’s 8-SHG tie for the league leadership while Tommy Olczyk’s 3-SHG also tie for the league-lead.
MAKING MILESTONES: Mike Neal played his 500th pro career game in the Saturday night victory at Fort Wayne. Garrett Clarke has eclipsed the 1,000-PIM plateau for his pro career; (1,004). Matt Rupert has now played 104-consecutive games for the Fuel, having never-ever missed a game as a member of Indy. Cam Reid (189) is 11-PIM away from career 200. Zach Miskovic (91) is 9-assists shy of pro career 100.
FUEL FACTS: With their 2-1 triumph Saturday night in Fort Wayne, the Fuel have now won 3-consecutive 1-goal decisions; last 3(3-0-0); for the season, they are 15(7-5-3); at home: 7(5-2-0); on the road: 8(2-3-3). The Fuel 3-games’ road win streak matches their longest road win streak of last season. The Fuel have scored 2-GF or less in 16 of 32-games; 1-GF 5-times; 2-GF 11-times. Indy has allowed 1-GA 5-times thus far this season with “ET” Marcoux in goal for 4 of those games. The Fuel are 10(4-5-1) when they outshoot the opposition and 22(9-11-2) when they are outshot by the opponents. The Fuel are 7(6-1-0) when they score 4 or more goals in a game. When they yield 2-GA or less, the Fuel are 12(10-1-1). Indy’s victory Saturday in Fort Wayne was its first in 9-games against the top 2 teams in its Central Division (Toledo/Fort Wayne) 9(1-8-0). Garrett Clarke leads the ECHL in PIM with 153.
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, again, of 2-games in 2-nights in Moline, IL against the Quad City Mallards. The broadcasts begin both Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 pm from Tax Slayer Center in downtown Moline.
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: The ECHL All-Star Classic comes to Indianapolis, next Monday, January 15th at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Individual tickets are now available with Hockey Legend and former WHA Indianapolis Racers star Wayne Gretzky our special guest. 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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