Indy Fuel Pit Stop – Week 25
Presented by Squealers Barbeque GrillApr 2, 2018
THE FLOURISHING FUEL COMPLETE SWEEP OF THE WEEK; SURGE WITHIN ONE-POINT OF PLAYOFF BERTH
INDY’S PLAYOFF PUSH COMES DOWN TO FINAL FOUR GAMES IN LAST WEEK OF 2017-18 REGULAR SEASON
THE FUEL IN KANSAS CITY TUES.; HOME FRI./SAT. AND SUN. VS. CINCINNATI, TOLEDO AND KALAMAZOO
LAST WEEK’S RESULTS: 2(2-0-0)11-4
FRI. MAR. 30 KANSAS CITY 3 AT FUEL 6.
SAT. MAR. 31 FORT WAYNE 1 AT FUEL 5.
THIS WEEK’S GAMES: (4)
TUES. APR. 3 THE FUEL AT KANSAS CITY 8:05 PM
FRI. APR. 6 CINCINNATI AT THE FUEL 7:35 PM
SAT. APR. 7 TOLEDO AT THE FUEL 7:35 PM
SUN. APR. 8 KALAMAZOO AT THE FUEL 3:05 PM
(END OF REGULAR SEASON)
NEXT HOME GAMES: FRI. 4/6 VS. CINCINNATI; SAT. 4/7 VS. TOLEDO; SUN. 4/8 VS. KALAMAZOO
********** ALL FUEL GAMES BROADCAST LIVE ON INDIANAPOLIS’ WFNI-AM 1070 THE FAN.COM ************
THE FUEL RAVE REVIEW: The Fuel are saving their best for last in their inexorable march to attain the club’s first ever coveted berth in the ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs. Under the guidance of Head Coach Bernie John and Aide-de-Camp Ryan McGinnis, the men of Fuel pro hockey renown have not only seized sole control of fifth place in the Western Conference Central Division standings, but also have crept within a scant single point of Kalamazoo for the fourth and final playoff spot with one game in hand and one week and four games remaining in their 72-games regular season schedule. The past weekend, Indy negotiated another major step forward to achieving the playoffs promised land by sweeping, in emphatic Fuel fashion, a pair of key, clutch contests against divisional foes Kansas City and Fort Wayne. Holding serve in the two home contests, the “Fuel-men” launched the weekend with a gigantic 6-3 victory verdict over the Mavericks on Friday night. The home team’s offensive juggernaut featured a 3-goals’ second period uprising with 2 of those strikes stoked on the power play. Logan Nelson (2-2-4) FG/PPG, Mike Neal (2-2-4) PPG/GWG and Josh Shalla (2-1-3) spearheaded the victors assault and goaltender “ET” Marcoux repulsed 25 of 28-shots. It was Indy’s third consecutive triumph over KC. Then on Saturday night, in another rekindling of rancor against archenemy Fort Wayne, the Fuel dispatched the visitors, 5-1. This night, it was a 3-goals opening period spree that sparked the Fuel with “Komets Killer” Josh Shalla firing a pair of first period goals as Indy stun-gunned the Ks with 2-PPG in :60. Matt Rupert (FG/PPG) torched the torrent while Darian Dziurzynski and rookie Mathew Thompson completed the carnage with second period thrusts as the Fuel opened up a commanding 5-0 lead after the first 40-minutes. Alex Wideman authored 3-assists and Logan Nelson and Robin Press each assisted twice. “ET” Marcoux, again, was splendid, minimizing the league’s highest scoring machine to 1-GA while making 33-saves.
POST SEASON STATUS: The Fuel will enter the final week of the league’s regular season residing in 5th place in the Central Division with a record of 68(34-29-5) totaling 73-points. Indy has 4-more games remaining with the first one on the road and the latter three in as many days on the weekend on home ice. The Fuel are a mere one-point back of fourth place Kalamazoo 69(34-29-6)74 with one game in hand on the Wings. Indy has vaulted over sixth place Kansas City 68(33-30-5)71 by a pair of points. While the Wings have 3-games remaining on their docket, the Mavs still have 4-games left. For the Kalamazooans, 2 of their 3-games will be on the road including the regular season finale coming up this Sunday right here in Indianapolis. For KC, its first two for the final week will be on back-to-back nights at home before they cap the campaign with a weekend two-games’ series in Utah. The Fuel have a combined record against Kalamazoo 9(6-3-0) and Kansas City 4(3-1-0) of 13(9-4-0); home: 4(2-2-0); road: 9(7-2-0).
THE FINAL FOUR FOR FUEL: This week, it’s 4-games in 6-days for the Fuel aggregation nation with each and every game of enormous magnitude. Tuesday night, Indy plays its last road game of the current campaign when they endeavor to Kansas City to lock horns with the equally playoff motivated Mavericks. The Fuel have captured a 4(3-1-0) season series advantage on the impetus of 3-consecutive victories with the initial two triumphs extracted in the Missouri hamlet back on February 16th, (4-2) and February 17th, (4-3 OTSO). Those two triumphs halted a Fuel 10-game losing spell against the Mavs. The Fuel will cap the campaign with 3-home games in 3-days on the weekend. Cincinnati will be in town on Friday night; first place Toledo comes calling on Saturday night followed by the finale in a Sunday matinee affair against Kalamazoo. It’s the biggest week of action in the Indy Fuel’s four-year club history.
RESURGENT RECORD: The Fuel’s latest undefeated skein has reached 6-games at 6(4-0-2). Their last regulation time setback was incurred back on March 16th in Cincinnati where they bowed 6-1. Further, the Fuel are 10(7-1-2) in their last 10-starts. Last 18(11-5-2); last 21(13-6-2); last 25(15-8-2); last 35(21-12-2); last 43(26-15-2). Since broaching the season with a 16(4-9-3) log, the Fuel have essayed an excellent comeback record of 52(30-20-2). This past weekend, Indy achieved its fourth consecutive winning month, completing March with a mark of 13(7-4-2); home: 7(4-2-1); road: 6(3-2-1). Previously, December 14(8-6-0); January 11(7-4-0); February 14(8-6-0). On home ice, the Fuel have been equally adept and adroit, having assembled a 5-games undefeated streak; 5(4-0-1) with their last home setback coming back on March 4th, 4-1 to Utah. Their 5-games unsullied skein on home ice represents their longest of the year. As far as foreign ice warfare is concerned, the Fuel are 5(3-1-1) in their last 5-decisions and a sparkling 23(14-8-1) in their last 23-expeditions abroad. Indy’s 15-road wins; 35(15-16-4) are a new club record while its 19-home wins are 6-more than all of last season (13). Moreover, after starting the season with a mark of 15(3-10-2) against their own Western Conference Central Division, the Fuel have produced an excellent mark of 35(24-10-1) in their last 35-outings. The Fuel’s 34-victories are also the most in team annals.
THE JOSH JUGGERNAUT: Right wing Josh Shalla is reaching new heights with his goal-scoring might. The past weekend, the 6-year pro engineered a pair of two-goals’ performances in sparking his squadron to victory each night. The Oshawa, Ontario product collected 5-points in the 2-games; 2(4-1-5) with 1-FG, 1-PPG, 1-GWG and +2 rating. Additionally, the month of March saw Shalla emerge as the Fuel’s premiere sharpshooter as he fired 11-goals and collected 16-points in 13-games. Included in his monthly numbers were 2-FG, 3-PPG, 1-GWG and 3-multiple goals’ games which came in his club’s last 4- games for the month. In his last 5-games; 5(7-2-9) +4; last 7-games; 7(9-3-12). For the season, his 7-PPG tie for the team leadership; his 6-mulriple goal games lead the team and his magical mastery as the “Consummate Kinetic Komets Killer” has been brilliant. In his last 14-Fuel games against Fort Wayne, Shalla is 14(19-6-25). Josh Shalla is the Fuel nomination for both Sher-Wood/ECHL Player of the Week as well as ECHL Player of the Month.
MASKED MYSTIC MARVEL MARCOUX: First-year goaltender “ET” Marcoux continues to enjoy an extraordinary season as member of the men of the Fuel. Recently returning from a three-weeks’ recall from AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Laval, PQ product has been perfect personified in posting 4-straight wins in his first 4-starts. The past weekend, Indy’s backbone backstop was star-studded in his team’s 6-3 and 5-1 conquests of Kansas City and Fort Wayne on back-to-back nights. The former U. of New Brunswick standout was 2(2-0-0) for the week with a 2.00 GAA and .936 SPCT. For the month of March, Marcoux was 4(4-0-0) with a 2.19 GAA and .925 SPCT. Marcoux is the Fuel’s nomination for both CCM/ECHL Goaltender of the Week and ECHL Goaltender of the Month.
FUEL FRESHMAN FLOURISHES: Recent arrival Mathew Thompson has emerged as a most pleasant surprise, contributing immediately to his new club’s climb into playoff contention. The Adrian College standout is presently enjoying a 3-games point streak with 3(2-2-4) in that span with a +2 rating. The 6-1, 195lb center has registered scoring points in 4 of his first 5-games in the professional ranks on 5(2-3-5) overall with an excellent +4 rating. Thompson is the Fuel’s nomination for ECHL Rookie of the Month.
NELSONIAN PUCK PLUTONIUM: Another Fuel center Logan Nelson, has been an extraordinary acquisition by Coach Bernie John and company. Obtained last month in a deal with Fort Wayne, the former Buffalo Sabres 5th round draft choice turned in an outstanding week as one of the key catalysts in Indy’s two-games’ sweep. In Friday night’s 6-3 triumph over Kansas City, he delivered the first 2-goals of the game and 4-points overall; (2-2-4), (FG) (PPG/GWG), being hailed the game’s #1 Star. Then on Saturday night, against his erstwhile Komets club, he authored 2-more assists in the 5-1 victory. For the week: 2(2-4-6). Nelson is currently riding the wave of a personal 5-games point-scoring streak; 5(3-6-9) with a +2 rating.
“Z’S” SCORING MACHINE: Left wing Darian Dziurzynski has been delivering key, touch-in-the-clutch goal-scoring firepower since his advent to the Fuel from Rapid City. His latest point-scoring streak has reached 3-games with 3(3-1-4) with a healthy +3 rating. His month of March was one of outstanding consistency for the hometown team. Playing in all 13-games for the month, he averaged a point a game with 13-points on 5-goals, 8-assists, 41-SOG and a superb +7 rating.
PRESS FOR THE DEFENSE: Defenseman Robin Press, the ECHL Player of the Month for February, has sustained his exceptional, enormous performance for the month of March. Honored as the first Fuel player to ever achieve League Player of the Month plaudits, kudos and accolades, and the first league defenseman to be so honored since 2003, the Swedish import, again, averaged over a point a game in his 12-games in the third month of the calendar year. In 12-games, Press collected 13-points on 1-goal, a team-high 12-assists with 29-SOG. In his last 21-games; 21(5-20-25). His 7-PPG tie for the team leadership as well as for the overall ECHL league-leadership among all league defensemen.
UNEVEN STRENGTH STRONG: The Fuel power play has been especially prolific right from season’s inception. The past weekend, in their 2-home triumphs in as many nights on home ice against divisional adversaries Kansas City (2-3) and Fort Wayne (2-5), the Fuel were a combined 4-8 for a prolific proficiency rating of a 50%. To accentuate the productivity output of the extra man band this season, a total of 14-times they have generated multiple PPG games and 9-times they have accomplished the feat in a single period. The Fuel are also 8 for the last 16; 50%; and 9 for the last 25; 36%. They are 22 for the last 74; 30%. For the season overall, the Fuel are 60-260; 23.1% conversion rating with those 60-PPG being the most in the loop and 32-more than they recorded all last season (28). PPG Leaders: Ryan Rupert (7); Robin Press (7); Josh Shalla (7); Alex Wideman (7); Mike Neal (6); Darian Dziurzynski (5); Johnny McInnis (5); Matt Rupert (4); Logan Nelson (3); Jaynen Rissling (3).
MILLING MILESTONES: Zack Miskovic has earned the distinction of the Fuel “Ironman” this season as the veteran stands alone as the only member of the club to play in all 68-games this season. Miskovic recently reached the 400-PIM in his 9-year pro career. Matt Rupert (17-21-38) has set a new career high for most points in a single season following last year’s numbers of (21-16-37). Alex Wideman’s next game will be the 200th of his pro career. Johnny McInnis (249) next game will be the pro career 250. Tommy Olczyk (93) is 7-games from 100; Brandon Anselmini (92), Robin Press (92) are 8-games from 100. Darian Dziurzynski (189) is 11-games from 200. Ryan Rupert (147) is 3-points from 150.
FUEL FACTS: The Fuel have scored 43-GF in their last 10-games for a GFA of 4.30. In their last 18-games, they have connected on 72-GF for a GFA of 4.00. The Fuel’s best night of the week on home ice has been Friday, posting a 10(8-2-0) mark. The Fuel have defeated their archrival Fort Wayne twice in succession and 3-times in the last 4-meetings this season. Indy’s best period has been the second where they have outscored its opponents, 95-86 overall and 55-36 at home. Johnny McInnis tops the team in ENG with 3. The Fuel are 27(24-1-2) entering the third period with the lead and 25(19-5-1) when leading after the first period. Both of Brandon Anselmini’s goals this season have been GWG with one of those being a SHG. The Fuel now have three 20-goal-plus cannoneers; Darian Dziurzynski (25); Josh Shalla (24); Mike Neal 20. The Fuel have been employed 7-goaltenders for game competition this season. Last year, they utilized only 3-goalies. The Fuel have not been involved in a shutout game all season long; either for them or against them.
THE FUEL / THE FAN: In the final week of the Fuel’s regular season schedule, the final week of their playoffs push, there are 4-games on the docket. This week’s broadcast schedule on WFNI-AM 1070thefan.com features a road trip origination coming up Tuesday night from Kansas City with broadcast time at 7:30 pm. The latter 3-games will come in 3-days on the weekend from home ice and the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Friday night vs. Cincinnati and Saturday, a duel against first-place Toledo. Both broadcasts begin at 7:00 pm. The finale is set for Sunday, a matinee affair against Kalamazoo with air time set for 2:30 pm. Join “the Voice of the Fuel,” Terry Ficorelli radio ice-side for all the action.
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