Indy Fuel Pit Stop – Week 14
Presented by Squealers Barbeque GrillJan 16, 2018
THE FUEL PAUSE TO HOST ANNUAL ECHL ALL STAR CLASSIC WITH 9(6-3-0) MARK OVER THE LAST 9-GAMES
INDY’S ROAD RECORD CLIMBS TO 5(4-1-0) IN LAST 5-STARTS; DIVIDE 2-GAMES’ SERIES IN THE QUAD CITIES
3-GAMES IN 3-DAYS THIS WEEK; ALLEN AND CINCINNATI HERE FRI. & SAT. NIGHTS; IN KALAMAZOO ON SUN.
LAST WEEK’S RESULTS: 2(1-1-0) 7-8
FRI. JAN. 12 FUEL 3 AT QUAD CITY 5.
SAT. JAN. 13 FUEL 4 AT QUAD CITY 3.
THIS WEEK’S GAMES: (3)
FRI. JAN. 19 ALLEN AT THE FUEL 7:35 PM
SAT. JAN. 20 CINCINNATI AT THE FUEL 7:35 PM
SUN. JAN. 21 THE FUEL AT KALAMAZOO 3:00 PM
“INDY FUEL LIVE” WED. NIGHT 7-8PM FROM ASPEN CREEK GRILL, NOBLESVILLE ON 107.5 FM & 1070 THE FAN
***** NEXT HOME GAMES: FRI. JAN. 19TH VS. ALLEN 7:35 PM; SAT. JAN. 20TH VS. CINCINNATI 7:35 PM *****
THE FUEL REVIEW: The Indy Fuel have reached the ECHL All-Star break continuing to play some of their best hockey of the 2017-18 ECHL 30th Anniversary Season. Under the direction of Head Coach Bernie John and Assistant Coach Ryan McGinnis, the Indy club completed their pre-All-Star game schedule by dividing a pair of games in Moline, IL the past weekend against their Western Conference Central Division rivals the Quad City Mallards. In the process, the men of Fuel pro hockey captured their initial conquest of the “Quad Squad” on foreign ice for this season. Broaching the two-games’ series in 24-hours on Friday night, the Fuel claimed 2-0 and 3-2 leads before the “Greenheads” rallied with 3-unanswered third period goals to overcome Indy, 5-3. Left wing Josh Shalla spurred the Fuel attack as he was instrumental on all 3 of his team’s goals, scoring twice and assisting once. His line-mate, Darian Dziurzynski contributed 1-goal and 1-assist. Indy outshot Quad City, 43-33 with All-Star goaltender Etienne Marcoux making 28-saves. Friday night, the Fuel power play was held at bay in all 4 of its advantages. Saturday night, it was the Fuel’s turn to rally to the cause in gaining the split in the set. Falling behind in the early stages, 1-0, the Fuel triggered a 4-goals, unanswered comeback counterattack crescendo with the latter 3-strikes stoked in a rapid-fire fashion 3:04 apart in the second stanza to gain the 4-3 decision. Indy’s first victory in the Quad Cities for this current campaign did not at all resemble a Sunday swing in the hammock as the home standing Mallards rallied with 2-third period goals to dissipate the victors 4-1 lead to the 4-3 final result. Indy’s well-balanced 4-goal attack featured 4-different sharpshooters with Jack Burton scoring the GTG in the latter part of the opening period before Robin Press (TBG/PPG), Johnny McInnis and Matt Rupert (1-1-2) GWG fired strikes in that middle period blitz. Indy, again, outshot the “Quack Attack,” 32-30 in the victory.
THE STATE OF THE FUEL: At the league’s All-Star break, the Fuel find themselves continuing their quest with zest to climb to the higher ground in the ECHL’s Western Conference Central Division standings. Presently residing in the sixth-place position, the Indy squadron has accumulated 31-points through its first 34-games on a record of 34(14-17-3). They are 10-points clear of seventh place Quad City 34(9-22-3)21. There is still much work to do for the rejuvenated and re-invigorated Fuel-men in their concerted bid to overtake two teams in their division expressly to attain their first-ever Kelly Cup Playoffs’ berth. With the vast majority of their remaining schedule centered against their own divisional foes, the Fuel have the potential luxury of controlling their own fate and destiny. The Fuel have 5-games remaining against first place Toledo; 4-more games with second place Fort Wayne; 8-more duels against third place Cincinnati; 3-more meetings with fourth place Kansas City; 7-more battles against fifth place Kalamazoo and 4-more meetings against seventh place Quad City.
FUEL TRIFECTA: This is a daunting and demanding week for the Fuel squad. After hosting Monday’s ECHL All-Star Classic, the Fuel will embark on a rigorous regimen consisting of 3-games in 3-days this weekend with the first 2-on home ice at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. It’s a Friday night, Saturday night home ice combination for the Fuel nation as the perennial power house Allen Americans come calling for their lone visit and meeting of the season with the Fuel on Friday night before the archrivalry against divisional opponent Cincinnati is rekindled on Saturday night. Then on Sunday, it’s a quick trip to Kalamazoo for a 3:00 pm matinee affair against the Wings. Indy is 2(2-0-0) when tangling with the Cyclones this season and 3(2-1-0) in a trio of tangos against the K-Wings.
FROM THE FUEL FILE: The Fuel have reached the All-Star break sounding a high note. At the 34-games’ mark, they are 2-games away from reaching the midway juncture of the 72-games’ schedule. Their record has definitely and noticeably improved at 34(14-17-3). Since December 1st, the Fuel are 2-games over the .500 barrier at 18(10-8-0). In recent overall action, they are 7(5-2-0) in their last7-outings and 99(6-3-0) in the last 9-games. On home ice, the Fuel are 9(6-3-0) as well in the last 9-outings while markedly enhancing their record abroad at 5(4-1-0) in the last 5-expeditions. In their own Central Division, the improvement has been significant as their 7(5-2-0) mark in recent action would testify. For the campaign, they are 22(8-12-2) within their own divisional alignment. The breakdown: Toledo 4(0-4-0); Fort Wayne 5(1-4-0); Cincinnati 2(2-0-0); Kansas City 1(0-1-0); Kalamazoo 3(2-1-0); Quad City 7(3-2-2).
THE JOSH JUGGERNAUT: Six-year veteran left wing Josh Shalla has made his second coming to the Fuel one of an indelible impression. The past weekend, last season’s team tops 32-goals’ cannoneer, fired his 2-goals’ game in only his third game back in Indy. The Oshawa, Ontario product stoked 2-goals and accrued 3-points and brilliant +3 rating Friday night in Quad City, earning the game’s #2 Star. Then on Saturday night, he acted the role of playmaker extraordinaire by delivering the primary assist on his club’s late first period GTG from Jack Burton. For the week, he was 2(2-2-4) with 7-SOG and +3 rating. In his initial 4-games back with the Fuel, he is 4(4-2-6) with two 2-goal games, 17-SOG and +5 rating. For the second consecutive week, Shalla is the Fuel’s nomination for Sher-Wood/ECHL Player of the Week.
“ET” IMMENSE: First-year goaltender Etienne Marcoux has become the veritable workhorse between the pipes for the hometown team. With Collin Delia and Matt Tomkins remaining on recall to AHL affiliate Rockford, the U. of New Brunswick product has emerged as a major spoke in the wheel of Fuel hockey renown. His 9-victories are foremost for the Fuel with 4 of those generated during this recent road revelry that has seen his club prevail in 4 of the last 5-foreign ice adventures. Marcoux, once again, is the Fuel nomination for CCM/ECHL Goaltender of the Week.
ROBIN THE RIFLE: Recently re-assigned to the Fuel by AHL Rockford, defenseman Robin Press has his game in full gear for the year. The Swedish import and former seventh draft choice of the parent club Chicago Blackhawks, uncorked one of his patented, potent cannon shots on Saturday night in Quad City. The result was the game’s TBG/PPG which shattered the 1-1 second period deadlock in Quad City and fused a Fuel 3-goals’ powder keg in 3:04 to vault the Fuel into the victory circle. For the weekend series, Press was 2(1-1-2) with +2 rating.
THE MARK OF MATT: Left wing Matt Rupert was overdue for a breakthrough, and, indeed, came through for the Fuel. Playing in his 106th consecutive Indy Fuel game, the third-year forward engineered a key, touch-in-the-clutch 1-goal and 1-assist in the Saturday night triumph in Moline. His goal was the ultimate GWG which climaxed his team’s 3-goals’ torrent in 3:04 in the middle stanza to cement the success for the Fuel.
THE TOP OF THE LOT: As we arrive at the ECHL All-Star break, the Fuel list of scoring leaders is featuring plenty of scoring balance. 1- Alex Wideman 32(9-13-22); 2- Mike Neal 28(11-11-22); 3- Cam Reid 32(8-13-21); 4- Ryan Rupert 29(5-15-20); 5- Matt Rupert 34(7-10-17); 6- Johnny McInnis 26(8-6-14); 7- Darian Dziurzynski 27(7-7-14); 8- Tommy Olczyk 31(8-3-11); 9- Nolan Descoteaux 34(1-9-10); 10- Nathan Noel 17(4-5-9); 11- Reed Seckel 32(3-6-9); 12- Stephen Collins 13(1-8-9); 13- Robin Press 15(1-7-8); 14- Zach Miskovic 34(4-3-7); 15- Josh Shalla 4(4-2-6); 16- Riley Sweeney21(2-4-6).
SPECIAL TEAMS TUNING: The Fuel power play halted an 0-10 spell Saturday night when Robin Press cranked the TBG in the 4-3 triumph in the Quad Cities. It was the Fuel’s 24th PPG of the season and they accrued it in game #34. All last season, through 72-games, the power play registered only 28-times. Alex Wideman (3), Ryan Rupert (3), Matt Rupert (3), Tommy Olczyk (2), Mike Neal (2), Johnny McInnis (2), Zach Miskovic (2) pace Indy in power play goals prowess. Meanwhile the penalty-killing cast continues to opefrate at full, maximum and optimum efficiency. Ranked a lofty 4th best in the loop, Indy has grudgingly surrendered only 17-PPGA all season long. Their 8-SHG tie for the league-leadership with Tommy Olczyk’s record-breaking, history-making 3-goals’ shorthanded “hat trick” tying for the league lead in SHG artistry. In addition, Ryan Rupert (2), Nathan Noel (2) and Matt Rupert (1) have also connected in the shorthanded bandit department.
MILESTONES MEMENTOS: Defenseman Zach Miskovic (446) is just 4-games away from pro career 450. His 91-career assists are 9-shy of 100-helpers. Garrett Clarke has ascended to the 1,000-PIM career plateau with 1,018. Cam Reid (189) is 11-PIM away from 200.
FUEL FACTS: When they score 4 or more, the Fuel are 8(7-1-0) thus far this season. The Fuel are unblemished entering the third period with the lead at 9(8-0-1). The Fuel’s 3-goal blitz in 3:04 of the second period in their Saturday night 4-3 verdict in Quad City, represented their second fastest 3-goals sequence of the current campaign. Indy has now won 4-consecutive 1-goal games; last 4(4-0-0) with 3 of those coming consecutively on the road. For the season; 16(8-5-3); home: 7(5-2-0); on the road: 9(3-3-3). Indy has now won 3 of its last 4-meetings this season against Quad City; last 4(3-1-0). In his last 9-games, captain and All-Star center Mike Neal is 9(1-8-9). In his first 9-games with the Fuel, Darian Dziurzynski is 9(6-3-9). Zach Miskovic’s 4-goals lead all Fuel defensemen. Both of Jack Burton’s goals this season have been struck on the road with both being GTG. In his last6-games, Stephen Collins is 6(1-6-7)
THE FUEL / THE FAN: This week’s Indy Fuel radio broadcast schedule on WFNI-AM 1070thefan.com. Three games in three days coming up this weekend for the Fuel with every Fuel game, home and away, play-by-play, all the way on WFNI-AM 1070thefan.com. The Fuel are on the air both Friday night against Allen and Saturday night against Cincinnati at 7:00 pm. Sunday, in Kalamazoo the broadcast begins at 2:30 pm with “The Voice of the Fuel,” Terry Ficorelli, radio ice-side to describe all the action.
“INDY FUEL LIVE”: The next edition of “INDY FUEL LIVE,” is set for this Wednesday night, January 17th, live from Aspen Creek Grill in Noblesville for one full hour 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. “The Voice of the Fuel,” Terry Ficorelli will host Fuel special guests including Head Coach Bernie John and Assistant Coach Ryan McGinnis on the Fuel radio home of 107.5 FM and 1070 “The Fan.” This Wednesday night’s guests include Indy Fuel defenseman Riley Sweeney and right wing Andrew Schmit.
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