Indy Fuel Pit Stop – Week 15
Presented by Squealers Barbeque GrillJan 22, 2018
THE FUEL SURGE CONTINUES; INDY CLAIMS VICTORIES IN TWO OF THREE STARTS; 12(8-4-0) LAST 12-GAMES
INDY INCHES SEASON RECORD TO WITHIN TWO GAMES OF THE .500 BARRIER AT 37(16-18-3) FOR 35-POINTS
FOUR MORE CRUCIAL GAMES THIS WEEK VS. CENTRAL DIVISION; RIVAL FORT WAYNE HERE TUESDAY NITE
LAST WEEK’S RESULTS: 3(2-1-0) 11-11
FRI. JAN. 19 ALLEN 3 AT FUEL 6.
SAT. JAN. 20 CINCINNATI 2 AT FUEL 3.
SUN. JAN. 21 FUEL 2 AT KALAMAZOO 6.
THIS WEEK’S GAMES: (4)
TUES. JAN. 23 FORT WAYNE AT THE FUEL 7:05 PM (ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT-NIGHT)
FRI. JAN. 26 THE FUEL AT CINCINNATI 7:30 PM
SAT. JAN. 27 THE FUEL AT KALAMAZOO 7:00 PM
SUN. JAN. 28 THE FUEL AT KALAMAZOO 3:00 PM
NEXT HOME GAME: *** TUESDAY, JANUARY 23RD VS. FORT WAYNE 7:05 PM “ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT-NIGHT” ***
********* ALL FUEL GAMES BROADCAST LIVE ON INDIANAPOLIS’ WFNI-AM 1070 THE FAN.COM **********
THE FUEL REVIEW: It was another week of making more progress in the resurgence and evolution of the Indy Fuel. Under the auspices of Head Coach Bernie John and Assistant Coach Ryan McGinnis, the men of Fuel ECHL pro hockey action achieved yet another winning week consisting of 2-victories in 3-starts; 3(2-1-0). In so doing, the hometown team has advanced its overall season record to within two games of the .500 plateau at 37(16-18-3) totaling 35-points. Embarking on a rigorous regimen comprised of three games in three days the past weekend, Indy’s Fuel launched the ambitious date slate with an impressive 6-3 victory verdict over league perennial power house Allen on Friday night at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Right wing Josh Shalla fused the Fuel assault, firing a 3-goals’ “hat trick” in earning the game’s #1 Star. A 3-goals second period blitz in 2:52, featuring 2-Shalla PPG 1:59 apart told the tale of the tape for the victors. Darian Dziurzynski (1-1-2) also contributed 1-PPG while Johnny McInnis (FG) and Reed Seckel also connected. Cam Reid engineered 3-assists; Mike Neal and Nolan Descoteaux each assisted twice. Indy outshot Allen, 43-28 with E.T. Marcoux posting the victory in goal, brushing aside 25-shots. Saturday night, in a Central Division showdown duel against arch-enemy Cincinnati, it took a Mike Neal third period strike to snap a 2-2 deadlock and catapult the Fuel into the victory circle, 3-2. Garrett Clarke (FG) and Robin Press (PPG) also made connection. Sunday in Kalamazoo, after falling behind 3-0, the Fuel dwindled their deficit to 3-2 before bowing to the Wings, 6-2. Ryan Rupert (1-1-2) PPG and Garrett Clarke created contention for the Fuel before the Kalamazooans unleashed 3-PPG to cement the final result.
THE STATE OF THE FUEL: Having entered the second-half of the league’s 72-games’ schedule, the Fuel launch this next new week residing in sixth place in the ECHL’s Western Conference Central Division, having compiled a record of 37(16-18-3) totaling 35-points. The Fuel trail fifth place Cincinnati 38(22-15-1)45 by 10-points. The Cyclones are 5(1-4-0) through their last 5-starts. Indy is 11-points back of fourth place Kalamazoo 38(21-13-4)46 as the Wings, for the moment, occupy the hallowed, much-coveted fourth and final playoff berth, going 5(4-0-1) in their last 5-decisions and 11(8-2-1) over their last 11-outings. Indy is 12-points in arrears of third place Kansas City 42(23-18-1)47 with the Fuel holding 5-games in hand on the Mavericks. For the remainder of the division, 1-Toledo 40(25-12-3)53; 2-Fort Wayne 39(25-12-2)52 with the Komets riding the wave of a 4-games’ winning skein. The preponderance of the Fuel’s remaining schedule of games will be contests against their fellow fractious foes from their own division; against Toledo, 5-more games; against Fort Wayne, 4-more bouts; vs. Kansas City, 4-more clashes; vs. Kalamazoo, 6-more times; vs. Cincinnati 7-more games; vs. Quad City, 4-more meetings. In all, 30 of the Fuel’s 35-remaining games will be against the Western Conference Central Division.
FOUR MORE THIS WEEK: This week, the Fuel continue this strenuous stretch of 7-games in 10-days with 4-more outings with 3 of those assignments being invasions into the league’s hostile territories. The lone home appearance for the “Fuel-men” is set for Tuesday night at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum at 7:05 pm when they rekindle rancor with their principal archrivals, the Fort Wayne Komets. Indy is 5(1-4-0) in 5-collsions against the Komets thus far this season and 3(0-3-0) on home ice. The Fuel did defeat the Ks in the last clash back on January 6th in Fort Wayne, extracting a hard-earned 2-1 triumph. It was the Fuel’s first-ever, outright, regulation time victory in Fort Wayne in the Indy club’s 4-year ECHL history. The Fuel will spend this upcoming weekend abroad, playing 3-road games in 3-days, beginning Friday night when they make their first trip to Cincinnati for the ’17-18 campaign. Then it’s on to Kalamazoo, again, this time for a 2-games’ series in less than 24-hours. Indy will be at the Wings Event Center both Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, marking the second straight Sunday the Fuel will be hosted by the Wings. The Fuel are a perfect 3(3-0-0) when dueling with the Cyclones and 4(2-2-0) in a quartet of battles against Kalamazoo; 2(1-1-0) on the road.
SRO / SOLD RIGHT OUT: ! The past Saturday night, on “Service Night” and “Scout Night,” the Fuel played to a sellout throng, a leather-lunged legion of 6,528 in an exciting and entertaining 3-2 triumph over rival Cincinnati. It was the second consecutive home game against the Cincinnatians in which the Fuel attracted over 6,000 fans. In the Cyclones previous appearance here, back on December 30th, the Fuel, once again, captured a 1-goal conquest over the Cyclones, 2-1, before a boisterous crowd of 6,103.
FROM THE FUEL FILE: The Fuel’s vast improvement remains a constant in their quest with zest to attain a coveted, first-ever Kelly Cup Playoffs’ berth. Since broaching the campaign with a rather inferior record of 16(4-9-3), Indy has evolved into a formidable foe for the rest of the ECHL as its 21(12-9-0) record would attest since December 1st. More recently, the Fuel did have their second 3-games’ win streak of the season short-circuited Sunday in Kalamazoo. Moreover, the Fuel are 6(4-2-0) in their last 6-dates; 10(7-3-0) in the last 10 and 12(8-4-0) through the last dozen dates. On home ice, the Fuel have won 2-in succession; last 2(2-0-0); last 5(4-1-0); last 11(8-3-0). On the road, they are 6(4-2-0) in their last 6-excursions. Against their own Central Division, they are 24(9-13-2) and 9(6-3-0) in their last 9-decisions. The breakdown: Toledo 4(0-4-0); Fort Wayne 5(1-4-0); Kansas City 1(0-1-0); Kalamazoo 4(2-2-0); Cincinnati 3(3-0-0); Quad City 7(3-2-2).
CENTER OF ATTENTION: Indy center Ryan Rupert enjoyed an excellent week of expertise and enterprise the past week for the hometown team. For his club’s 3-games in 3-days, the third-year pro engineered 3-points on 1-goals, 2-assists with a stellar +4 rating. His 1-goal came on the power play Sunday in Kalamazoo before collecting the primary assist on line-mate Garrett Clarke’s strike in the same game. For the season, the Grand Bend, Ontario product has emerged as Indy’s third leading scoring ace of the place with 32(6-17-23). His 6-goals have been registered accordingly; a team-high 4-PPG and 2-SHG. Ryan Rupert is the Fuel’s nomination for Sher/Wood/ECHL Player of the Week.
THE SOUL OF GOAL: First-year goaltender “ET” Marcoux has become the consummate workhorse for the men of the Fuel. The 24-year-old product of Laval, PQ was still in goal for all 3 of his team’s games in less-than 72-hours the past weekend. The ECHL All-Star human puck detour bedazzled in a pair of his team’s triumphs on home ice on consecutive nights the past weekend against Allen and Cincinnati respectively. In the Saturday night success over the Cyclones, Marcoux was hailed the game’s #2 Star, making 28-saves to preserve Indy’s 3-2 victory. Marcoux is the Fuel nomination for CCM/ECHL Goaltender of the Week.
MIKE’S MIGHT MATTERS: Team captain and All-Star center Mike Neal continues to fashion the key, touch-in-the-clutch catalyst factor for the Fuel hockey icers. The 9-year veteran was, once again, at the top of his game Saturday night in spearheading his team’s exciting and electrifying 3-2 triumph over Cincinnati. Vaulting out of the penalty box in full gallop in the third period, the 6-3, 220lb pivot did some intimidating crease-crashing to convert for the TBG/GWG with the Fuel flair for thrilling theater in the 3-2 win. It was Neal’s team-high 12th goal as well as his club-best 3rd-GWG. The captain was heralded as the game’s #1 Star. Neal also tops the team in FG with 4. In his last 12-games; 12(2-10-12).
PREMIERE CANNONEER: Right wing Josh Shalla is fully aware of his lot in his hockey life; a feared, revered goal-scoring cannoneer. In his club’s masterful 6-3 dousing and dismissal of championship thoroughbred Allen, the sniper with the golden touch uncorked a brilliant 3-goals’ “hat trick” which included a pair of PPG 1:59 apart and the ultimate GWG. Those 2-PPG represented the Fuel’s fastest 2-goals by an individual player thus far this season. It was Shalla’s third multiple goal game through his first 5-games since his return from Europe. Honored as the game’s #1 Star Friday night, Shalla is 7(7-2-9) in his first 7-games, recording a sterling +5 rating.
UNSUNG SOUND & SOLID: Right wing Johnny McInnis continues to go about his on-ice business in an unsung but especially effective fashion. The hard-working, strongly-committed standout from Minnesota State-Mankato has unassumingly engineered a present tense 4-games’ scoring streak in which he has composed 2-goals, 2-assists, 4-points with 12-SOG. McInnis 4-games’ point streak equals the longest by any other Fuel player at this juncture of the campaign.
BALANCED SCORING: One game into the second half of the League’s schedule, the Fuel are demonstrating the much-valued asset of scoring balance. The list in order: 1- Mike Neal 31(12-13-25); 2- Cam Reid 35(8-17-25); 3- Ryan Rupert 32(6-17-23); 4- Alex Wideman 32(9-13-22)’ 5- Matt Rupert 37(7-12-19); 6- Johnny McInnis 29(9-8-17); 7- Darian Dziurzynski 30(8-8-16); 8- Nolan Descoteaux 37(1-12-13); 9- Tommy Olczyk 31(8-3-11); 10- Reed Seckel 35(4-6-10); 11- Robin Press 18(2-8-10) 12- Stephen Collins 16(1-9-10); 13- Josh Shalla 7(7-2-9); 14- Nathan Noel 17(4-5-9); 15- Zach Miskovic 37(4-4-8); 16- Garrett Clarke 32(3-5-8).
SPECIAL TEAMS TRACKING: The Fuel power play has been firing on all cylinders all season long; but never better than at this stage of the campaign. Ranked a lofty third best in the ECHL, the man advantage team is operating at 20.1% proficiency at 29-144. Their 29-PPG already exceed last season’s entire season’s output of 28. In recent action, the Fuel power play is 5 for the last 14; 35.7%; 12 for the last 44; 27.5%. As far as the penalty-killing cast is concerned, there was a slight faltering in Sunday’s setback inflicted by the Wings in Kalamazoo as for the first time this season, the Fuel surrendered 3-PPGA in the 6-2 defeat. For the season, the Fuel penalty-killing unit ranks circuit 7th with the opposition going 23-155 for an efficiency rating of 85.2%. Indy’s 8-SHG tie for second most in the loop and doubles its entire output of 4 from last season. Tommy Olczyk (3); Ryan Rupert (2), Nathan Noel (2), Matt Rupert (1) have been the SHG artisans. Fuel PPG leaders: Ryan Rupert (4); Matt Rupert (3); Alex Wideman (3).
MASTER MILESTONES: Defenseman Zach Miskovic (449) next game will be pro career #450. His 92-assists are 8-shy from pro career 100. Cam Reid (193) is 7-PIM from pro career 200-PIM. Left wing Matt Rupert has played 109-consecutive Fuel games; he has never-ever missed a Fuel game since his arrival to the hockey scene here in Indy at the inception of the 2016-17 season.
FUEL FACTS: When they score 4 or more, the Fuel are 9(8-1-0) thus far this season. The Fuel are unsullied entering the third period with the lead at 10(9-0-1). The Fuel’s 3-goals second period explosion in 2:52 in their 6-3 Friday night victory over Allen represented their second fastest 3-goals blitz of the current campaign. Indy has won 5-consecutive 1-goal games; last 5(5-0-0) and 17(9-5-3) overall in such decisions. The Fuel are currently working on their second straight winning month; December 14(8-6-0); January 7(4-3-0). The Fuel’s 11-home wins, 19(11-8-0), are 2-wins away from equaling last year’s total of 13. Garrett Clarke’s 197-PIM in 32-games lead the ECHL. The Fuel have not been involved in an extra time game, either OT or OTSO since 11/12/17 at Quad City when the Mallards gained the bonus point, 2-1. This is a span of 25-straight regulation time games. Four of the Fuel’s first 12-games this season were decided in extra time. Indy is 4(1-3) in such outcomes; OT; 2(0-2); OTSO: 2(1-1). Indy is 6(4-1-1) in 6-games against the Western Conference Mountain Division. Their 6-3 victory Friday night on home ice over Allen was the Fuel’s first-ever success over the Americans in the club’s ECHL history in 7-tries.
THE FUEL / THE FAN: This week’s Indy Fuel radio broadcast schedule on WFNI-AM 1070thefan.com consists of 4-games in 6-days including 3-games in 3-straight days. This week’s slate: Tuesday night, Fort Wayne at The Fuel, beginning at 6:30 pm; Friday night, The Fuel at Cincinnati 7:00 pm; Saturday night, The Fuel at Kalamazoo 6:30 pm; Sunday afternoon, The Fuel at Kalamazoo 2:30 pm. Join “The Voice of the Fuel,” Terry Ficorelli, is radio ice-side for all the action.
“INDY FUEL LIVE”: The next edition of “INDY FUEL LIVE,” is set for Monday night, February 26th, live from Aspen Creek Grill in Noblesville. It’s one full hour, 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm with “The Voice of the Fuel,” Terry Ficorelli and his special guests. Head Coach Bernie John, Assistant Coach Ryan McGinnis will be featured along with a veritable array of Fuel players’ guests on the Fuel radio home of 107.5 FM and 1070 “The Fan.”
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