Indy Fuel Pit Stop – Week 20
Presented by Squealers Barbeque GrillFeb 26, 2018
THE FUEL PLAYOFF PUSH TAKES FLIGHT; INDY SOARS WITHIN 2-POINTS OF 4TH PLACE; 3-POINTS OF 3RD
THE FUEL SWEEP THE WEEK; 4-GAME WIN STREAK LONGEST OF SEASON; 27(18-9-0) IN THE LAST 27-GAMES
4-MORE GAMES THIS WEEK; HOME TUES. VS. TOLEDO; UTAH HERE SAT. & SUN.; IN CINCINNATI ON FRIDAY
LAST WEEK’S RESULTS: 4(4-0-0) 21-15
TUES. FEB. 20 CINCINNATI 2 AT FUEL 3.
FRI. FEB. 22 QUAD CITY 7 AT FUEL 8.
SAT. FEB. 23 QUAD CITY 2 AT FUEL 4.
SUN. FEB. 24 QUAD CITY 4 AT FUEL 6.
THIS WEEK’S GAMES: (4)
TUES. FEB. 27 TOLEDO AT THE FUEL 7:05 PM (ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT-NIGHT)
FRI. MAR. 2 THE FUEL AT CINCINNATI 7:35 PM
SAT. MAR. 3 UTAH AT THE FUEL 7:35 PM (RACING NIGHT)
SUN. MAR. 4 UTAH AT THE FUEL 3:05 PM (FAMILY FUN DAY)
NEXT HOME GAMES: TUE. 2/27 VS. TOLEDO 7:05 PM; SAT. 3/3 7:35 PM AND SUN. 3/4 VS. UTAH GRIZZLIES 3:05 PM
************ ALL FUEL GAMES BROADCAST LIVE ON INDIANAPOLIS’ WFNI-AM 1070 THE FAN.COM ***********
*** “INDY FUEL LIVE” MONDAY NIGHT 7-8PM FROM ASPEN CREEK GRILL ON 107.5 FM AND 1070 THE FAN ***
THE FUEL RAVE REVIEW: The juggernaut that is the Indy Fuel at this hour of the 2017-18 ECHL season is continuing unrelentingly and unabatingly. Under the auspices of Head Coach Bernie John and Assistant Coach Ryan McGinnis, the Fuel playoff push has vaulted the club into fifth place in the ECHL’s Western Conference Central Division standings, climbing within two-points of the coveted fourth and final playoff berth and within three points of the third- place position in the divisional alignment. Confronting a daunting and demanding week’s work of 4-games in 5-days to climax a rigorous regimen of 8-games in 11-days, the men of the Fuel responded resoundingly. Sweeping all 4-games, all on home ice, Indy launched the week by achieving “straight A’s” in the their first-ever Education Day game the past Tuesday in defeating arch-adversary Cincinnati for the fifth consecutive time in as many meetings this season and the fourth successive time at home, 3-2. Ryan Rupert triggered the TBG/GWG at the :55 mark of the third period to culminate an Indy 3-goals’ rally that erased a 2-0 second period deficit. Robin Press (PPG) and Johnny McInnis (PPG/GTG) also contributed with mighty strikes in the successful comeback bid. On Thursday night, the Fuel launched a 3-games in 3-nights homestand series against Quad City, outlasting the visitors, 8-7. A 6-goals’ second period powder keg fused by the Fuel decided the issue as, again, the Fuel fought back from a deficit; this one of 3-0. Indy spiced its zesty attack with a season’s best 4-PPG with Darian Dzuirzynski sparking the spree with (2-2-4) PP. Alex Wideman (1-2-3) PP, Jaynen Rissling (1-2-3) PP, Matt Iacopelli (1-1-2) SHG, Robin Press (PP), Matt Rupert and Zach Miskovic all fired goals while Josh Shalla collected 4-assists. Friday night, the Fuel made it 2-in a row over the Mallards in a 4-2 triumph. Wideman (1-1-2) FG, Press (1-1-2) PPG, Iacopelli and Jack Burton (GWG) were the victors’ major marquee marksmen. Indy completed the sweep of the week and of the series against the Mallards on Saturday night in a 6-4 conquest. Again, the second period was the Fuel’s eminent domain, erupting with a 4-goals outburst which featured 2 of Iacopelli’s first-ever Fuel 3-goals’ “hat trick.” Wideman assisted on all 3-goals. R. Rupert, Dziurzynski (PPG) and Johnny McInnis also connected. Logan Nelson essayed a pair of helpers.
PLENTY OF PLAYOFF PUSH: The Fuel’s skyrocketing, meteoric rise in the Western Conference Central Division standings has seen them catapult into fifth place and surging within 2-points of the hallowed and coveted fourth and final playoff berth. Moreover, Indy has ascended within 3-points of third place in the divisional chase and race. The Fuel will commence the new week having vaulted 3-games over the .500 barrier at 54(27-24-3) totaling 57-points. Indy is now 2-points back of fourth place Kalamazoo 54(27-22-5)59 with the Wings going 7(1-5-1) in their last 7-starts. The Fuel still have 2-games remaining with the Kalamazooans; 1-home and 1-road. Indy is 8(5-3-0) against the Wings this season and 6(4-2-0) at the Wings Event Center. Meanwhile, the Fuel are only 3-points back of third place Cincinnati 52(29-21-2)60 with the Cyclones having 2-games in hand on the Fuel-men. There are still 5-more meetings coming up for the Fuel with the Cincinnatians with 2-more at home and 3-more in the “Queen City” where the two teams will lock horns in a showdown duel on Friday night. The team from Indianapolis is 1-point better than sixth place Kansas City 55(27-26-2)56 which has won its last 2-starts. The Fuel and the Mavs have 2-more meetings scheduled; 1-home, 1-away. Beginning the new week, only 4-points separate third from sixth place with two teams eventually making it to the post-season and the other two going home.
FOUR MORE TO SCORE: This hectic, demanding docket for the men of the Fuel shows no pause as the hometown team faces another 4-games in 6-days week with 3-more of those on home ice and 1-other test coming up abroad. Tuesday night is “All-You-Can-Eat-Night” at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum where the Fuel will close out their extended 5-games’ homestand in a tango with Toledo. “Bernie’s Boys” will not only be seeking to complete the grand sweep of this present homestand but also, will be in search of hooking the Walleye for the first time in a half-dozen dates. On Friday night, in their lone foreign ice affair of the week, Indy will broach its March schedule in a showdown duel with playoff implications attached when they journey to Cincinnati for a bout with the Cyclones. Then it’s back home for a pair of appearances against the Western Conference Mountain Division Utah Grizzlies on both Saturday night on “RACING NIGHT” and, again, in a 3:05 pm Sunday matinee encore presentation on “FAMILY FUN DAY.”
CHECKING THE FUEL GAUGE: In the middle of playing 15 of their final 22-games at home with 19 of those 22-assignments coming against their own Central Division, the Fuel are riding the crest of a season’s-best 4-games win streak; last 4(4-0-0). They have also matched their longest home win skein of the current campaign. The Indy tidal wave has been generating more and more momentum as the season progresses. In their last 7(6-1-0); last 11(8-3-0); last 21(14-7-0); last 27(18-9-0). At home last 4(4-0-0); last 11(8-3-0); last 17(12-5-0). Their 15-home wins are already 2-more than earned all last season (13) with 11-more home games remaining. On the road: last 11(7-4-0); last 17(11-6-0). Their 12-road wins are 2-more than last year (10). Against their own division, after a 15(3-10-2) start, the Fuel are 24(17-7-0) in the last 24-episodes, winning 6-in a row and 8(7-1-0) in the last 8-dates. Indy is now over the .500 barrier against their own division at 39(20-17-2). Since December 1st, the Fuel record stands at 38(23-15-0), following a 16(4-9-3) start to the season.
ALEX INDEX: Left wing Alex Wideman has been at the top of his game since his recent return from recall from Rockford. The third-year pro has built an impressive 7-games point-scoring streak, equaling the club’s second best thus far this season. In that span, the native of St. Louis, MO has engineered 12-points on 3-goals, 9-assists and +2 rating. The past week, Wideman spearheaded his team’s 4-games’ home sweep by amassing 9-points on 2-goals, 7 assists and +2 rating. Included in his point-production were two 3-points performances and one 2-points effort with 1-FG and 1-TBG/PPG. In the latter 2-games of the 3-games’ series against Quad City, he was named the game’s #2 Star. Wideman is the Fuel’s nomination for Sher-Wood/ECHL Player of the Week.
MASKED MYSTIC MARVEL MARCOUX: First year goalkeeper “ET” Marcoux enjoyed another outstanding week of puck prevention attention for the men of Fuel hockey. The former standout at the U. of New Brunswick and the QMJHL performed his craft to the tune of two games, posting a perfect 2(2-0-0) record with a 1.98 GAA and .949 SPCT as he repelled 56 of 59-SOG. He was heralded the game’s #2 Star on Friday night in backstopping his team to a solid 4-2 triumph over Quad City. Marcoux is the Fuel’s nomination for CCM/ECHL Goaltender of the Week.
THE MATHESON DIMENSION: Recently reassigned to the Fuel by NHL parent club Chicago by way of AHL Rockford, high-voltage, goal-scoring left wing Matheson “Matt” Iacopelli asserted his powerful offensive presence in the Indy lineup with great immediacy. Integral and instrumental in his club’s 3-games’ series sweep of Quad City, the Blackhawks third round pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft fired 5-goals and added 1-assist for a prolific and terrific 6-points. Connecting in the goal-power department in all 3 of his outings, Iacopelli climaxed his first week here with a crescendo in the form of a masterful 3-goals “hat trick, which included the latter two snipes spaced 4:31 apart with second strike stoked representing the ultimate GWG for Indy’s 6-4 Saturday night victory over the Mallards. Iacopelli was hailed the game’s #1 Star.
NELSONIAN PLAYMAKING PLUTONIUM: Recently-acquired center Logan Nelson stepped into the lineup and did what was expected of him upon his arrival to the Fuel nation. The 4-year pivot logged an abundance of ice time, took many of the key face-offs, played his always high-standard defensive brand of hockey and served as the ultimate playmaker extraordinaire for his line-mates, Matt Iacopelli and Alex Wideman. In his first 3-Fuel games; 3(0-5-5).
DYNAMIC FUEL DEBUTS: Head Coach Bernie John was active in the player market place the past week in a Fuel concerted effort to reach the post-season playoffs for the first time in the club’s short history. The Indy bench pilot secured the services of 4-new personnel with each one making significant contributions in keeping the Fuel undefeated since their respective arrivals. In their first 3-games: Iacopelli 3(5-1-6) +2; Jaynen Rissling 3(1-2-3) +2; Logan Nelson 3(0-5-5) E; Brendan Mitchell 3(0-0-0) +1.
SPECIAL TEAMS TORRID: The Fuel power play has continued to grow and evolve into an awesome and then-some scoring machine. In the past week’s sweep of all 4-home games, the extra man percolated prodigiously to the tune of 8-16; 50% proficiency. It was 6-14 in the 3-games’ series sweep of Quad City for a conversion rate of 42.9%. Ranked #1 in the ECHL, the Indy power play is 10 for the last 26; 38.5%; 14 for the last 40; 35%; 22 for the last 70; 31.4%. For the season, 46-201; 23% proficiency. Scoring balance is evidenced with the extra man: Ryan Rupert (6); Robin Press (6); Darian Dzuirzynski (5); Josh Shalla (4); Alex Wideman (4); Johnny McInnis (4); Mike Neal (4); Matt Rupert (3); Jaynen Rissling (3). Eleven times this season, the Fuel have produced multiple PPG game performances and 7-times they have authored multiple PPG periods. In the penalty-killing department, the Fuel ranking is 10th in the loop with the opponents going 35-233; 84.4% efficiency level. Indy has defused 17 of the last 18; 94.4% and 28 of the last 30; 93.3%. The Fuel’s 12-SHG rank tied for second best in the league; Ryan Rupert (3); Tommy Olczyk (3); Nathan Noel (2); Matt Rupert (1); Brandon Anselmini (1); Darian Dzuirzynski (1); Matt Iacopelli (1).
MINTING MILESTONES: Darian Dzuirzynski’s second period PPG in Saturday night’s victory over Quad City was the 100th goal of his pro career. With his 5-assists in his first 3-Fuel games, Logan Nelson has eclipsed the 100-assists mark in his pro career. Zach Miskovic (98) is just 2-assists away from pro career 100. Tommy Olczyk (90) is 10-games away from 100. Alex Wideman (189) needs 11-more games for pro career #200. Ryan Rupert (248) is 2-games from 250. Cam Reid (347) is 3-games from 350. Logan Nelson (194) is 6-games from 200. Garrett Clark (1090) is 10-PIM from 1,100-PIM. Zach Miskovic (392) is 8-PIM from 400-PIM. Jaynen Rissling (196) is 4-PIM from 200-PIM. Cam Reid (195) is 5-PIM from 200.
FUEL FACTS: The Fuel finished a grueling span of 8-games in 11-days with a stellar record of 8(6-2-0). With one more game remaining this month, the Fuel have clinched their third consecutive winning month; December 14(8-6-0); January 11(7-4-0); February 13(8-5-0). Indy’s 8-goals explosion Thursday night over Quad City represents their best single game offensive performance of the season. Their 6-goals in the second period of the same game duplicated the all-time team record, which, ironically, was first set against the Mallards in March of 2017, also in a Fuel 8-7 outlasting of the Mallards. This is the second straight year on home ice that the Fuel have defeated Quad City by the less-than mundane 8-7 result. The sign of a team bent on winning all the time, the Fuel are currently on a 9-games’ winning streak in games decided by a scant 1-goal margin. The Fuel are 20(18-2-0) when they score 4 or more. They are 20(18-1-1) entering the third period with the lead. When outshooting the opponents, the Fuel are 19(10-8-1); when they are outshot, 35(17-16-2). Of his 13-goals this season, Ryan Rupert has 6-PPG, 3-SHG and 4-even strength strikes. In his last 15-games, Robin Press is 15(7-9-16). Darian Dzuirzynski last 9(8-4-12). Josh Shalla last 13(4-12-16).
THE FUEL / THE FAN: This week’s Indy Fuel radio broadcast schedule on WFNI-AM 1070thefan.com consists of 4-more games in the span of 6-days. We begin Tuesday night at 6:30 pm for the Fuel hosting Toledo. Then, it’s on to Cincinnati for a showdown with the Cyclones Friday night with air time at 7:00 pm. Saturday night the game is on at 7:00 pm and Sunday afternoon the show begins at 2:30 pm. Both of the latter games will be against the Utah Grizzlies. Join “The Voice of the Fuel,” Terry Ficorelli, radio ice-side for all the action.
“INDY FUEL LIVE”: The next edition of “INDY FUEL LIVE” is set for this 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. Tonight’s featured Fuel guests will be defenseman BRANDON ANSELMINI and center CAM REID. Tune-in the Fuel on their radio home of WFNI 107.5 FM and 1070 The Fan.
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