Indy Fuel Pit Stop – Week 6
Presented by Squealers Barbeque GrillNov 20, 2017
THE FUEL GET BACK ON TRACK IN CAPTURING BACK-TO-BACK WINS FOR FIRST TIME IN 2017-18 SEASON
THROUGH FIRST THREE GAMES OF SIX GAMES’ HOMESTAND INDY POSTING A WINNING RECORD OF 3(2-1-0)
THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY WEEK HAS FORT WAYNE HERE FRI. NIGHT; KANSAS CITY IN TOWN SAT. NIGHT
LAST WEEK’S RESULTS: 3(2-1-0) 10-9
TUES. NOV. 14 TOLEDO 4 AT FUEL 1
FRI. NOV. 17 KALAMAZOO 2 AT FUEL 6
SAT. NOV. 18 TULSA 3 AT FUEL 4
THIS WEEK’S GAMES: (2)
FRI. NOV. 24 FORT WAYNE AT THE FUEL 7:35 PM (BLACK FRIDAY presented by COMMUNITY HEALTH NETWORK)
SAT. NOV. 25 KANSAS CITY AT THE FUEL 7:35 PM (STAR WARS NIGHT presented by INDIANA FARMERS MUTUAL INSURANCE)
THE FUEL REVIEW: Halfway through their extended 6-games’ home stand, the Indy Fuel appear to be back on track as far as winning ways are concerned. Under the direction of Head Coach Bernie John, the men of Fuel hockey completed their 3-games’ week before Thanksgiving schedule by assembling a 3(2-1-0) record with the latter 2-outings resulting in Indy’s first set of back-to-back victories in this 2017-18 ECHL campaign. After trembling to Toledo on Tuesday night, 4-1, at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum, the Fuel were galvanized with a pair of spirited successes in as many nights on both Friday and Saturday nights. In the process, the Fuel-men have attained their first 2-game winning streak of the season, accomplishing the feat in impressive fashion. Friday night, in their first of 10-meetings against divisional rival Kalamazoo, the Fuel clipped the Wings, 6-2. Nathan Noel fired 2-SHG 3:43 apart in the opening stanza before Cam Reid scored the GWG and Alex Wideman (PPG), Nick Bligh and Tommy Olczyk (ENG) also connected. Kalamazoo outshot the Fuel, 47-23 as rookie Etienne Marcoux rebuked 45-Wings shots in posting his first victory in goal for the Fuel. Saturday night, the Fuel topped Tulsa, 4-3, on the impetus of a 3-goals’ second period explosion in 2:39 which eradicated an Indy 2-1 shortfall. Alex Wideman (FG), Zach Miskovic (TG/PP), Nick Bligh (TB/PP) and Cam Reid (GWG) supplied the Fuel firepower and Marcoux brushed aside 34-shots. The Oilers outshot the Fuel, 36-25 while both squads engineered a pair of power play goals.
THE STATE OF THE FUEL: The Fuel of Indy commence the Thanksgiving holiday week on an upbeat note, having achieved their first 2-game win skein of the season. In so doing, the hometown team has elevated its record through the season’s first 14-games to 14(4-7-3), totaling 11-points. With Kalamazoo 11(5-5-1)11 mired in a 3-game losing streak, compiling a mark of 6(1-5-0) over its last half dozen dates, the Fuel have climbed into a tie with the Wings for 6th place in the Western Conference Central Division Standings. Indy’s 2-games’ win skein effectively expunges a 7-games’ winless spell as well. Coach Bernie’s squadron has also inched ever so closer to both Fort Wayne and Quad City in the division in the club’s upward ascent.
HOME HOLIDAY WEEK: The Fuel will continue their quest with zest for more consecutive victories on this current homestand this Thanksgiving holiday week. There are two more games on the Indiana Farmers Coliseum home front. Friday night, their archrivals, the Fort Wayne Komets, come calling for the first time this season in a 7:35 pm opening face-off on “Black Friday Night.” The Fuel and the Komets divided a pair of pre-season encounters in the first week of October with the home team prevailing in each contest. Then on Saturday night, on “Star Wars Night,” Indy will await the invasion of the renamed, re-branded Kansas City Mavericks. Formerly known as the Missouri Mavericks, the “KC Six’ also will be making their initial appearance in Indianapolis as they have transferred from the Western Conference Mountain Division to the Western Conference Central Division for this 2017-18 season.
THE FUEL FILL-UP: Through their first 14-games, the Fuel have authored a season’s mark of 14(4-7-3), totaling 11-points. At home, they are 6(3-3-0)6, having won 2-in succession. Away from home bay, they are 8(1-4-3), presently winless in their last 4-starts abroad at 4(0-2-2). Indy’s last success in alien territory was back on October 27th when they dismissed the Everblades in Florida, 5-2. Within their own Western Conference Central Division, the Fuel are 6(1-3-2), having collected their initial triumph in this department the past Friday night in the form of a 6-2 triumph at the expense of Kalamazoo. The breakdown by division: Mountain Division 4(2-1-1); Eastern Conference South Division: 3(1-2-0); Eastern Conference North Division 1(0-1-0). For the month of November, the Fuel are 8(2-4-2); at home: 5(2-3-0); on the road: 3(0-1-2).
CAM CLUTCH: The Fuel’s premiere point producer, Cam Reid, emerged as a major catalyst in his club’s back-to-back victories in the span of 24-hours the past weekend. In both triumphs, the former St. Cloud State U., standout delivered the key touch-in-the-clutch GWG to cement the victory verdicts. In Friday night’s 6-2 triumph over Kalamazoo, he became the first Fuel player thus far this season to essay a 3-points enormous performance; (1-2-3), being acclaimed the game’s #3 Star. Saturday night, it was an encore from crafty Cam, in the 4-3 win over the Tulsans. For the week, he was 3(2-2-4) with those 2-GWG and +2 rating. His 14-points in 14-games top the team in scoring 14(4-10-14). Cam Reid is the Fuel’s nomination for Sher-Wood/ECHL Player of the Week.
THE “ET” ERASURE: First-year goaltending wizard Etienne Marcoux has been a most pleasant surprise for the men of the Fuel thus far this season. Signed as a free agent during the off-season, the former U. of New Brunswick star turned in a masterful weekend of goal attention prevention, backstopping his club to those 2-straight wins in 2-nights. Friday night, having recently returned from a brief AHL recall to his hometown of Laval PQ, Marcoux was scintillating, stifling Kalamazoo with 45-saves on 47-shots in earning the game’s #2 Star in the 6-2 triumph. Saturday night, he flashed even more leather larceny, making 33-saves and achieving the #3 Star in a 4-3 trumping of Tulsa. For the week, Marcoux was 2(2-0-0) with a 2.50 GAA and gaudy .940 SPCT. Marcoux is the Fuel’s nomination for CCM/ECHL Goaltender of the Week.
SHORTHANDED BANDIT: Flashy forward Nathan Noel is beginning to show the signs as to why the parent club Chicago Blackhawks tabbed him in the 4th round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. The erstwhile star of the Saint John Sea Dogs of the major junior ‘A’ QMJHL was electrifying Friday night in igniting his club to the tune of a 6-2 romp over Kalamazoo. Noel sizzled 2-SHG 3:43 apart in a Fuel 3-goal opening period juggernaut. In the process, he was hailed the game’s #1 Star. The 2-strikes sniped by Noel represented the first 2-goals and first 2-points of his young professional career.
ALEX LIGHTS IT: 2016-17 Team MVP and All-Star Alex Wideman enjoyed a steady, stellar week of point productivity for the hometown team. The former USHL Indiana Ice and Miami of Ohio U., standout uncorked key goals in each of his team’s monumental victories the past weekend. On Friday night, he scored Indy’s lone PPG, his team-high 3rd PPG of the season, while adding one assist, 3-SOG and +1 rating in the 6-2 thumping of the Wings. Saturday night, he delivered the game’s all-important FG with 3-more SOG and another +1 rating in the 4-3 win over Tulsa. For the 2-games, Wideman was 2(2-1-3) with 6-SOG and +2 rating. In his last 5-games; 5(3-3-6).
THE BLIGH BLITZ: Second-year right wing Nick Bligh is developing into one of the more feared, revered cannoneers in the ECHL. The product of Dartmouth College “Big Green” was lustrously lethal in his club’s 2-victories the past weekend. Friday night his lone SOG found the bulls eye in the 6-2 success over the K-Wings. Then on Saturday night, he became the second Fuel player to engineer a 3-points’ performance on 1-goal, 2-assists, 3-SOG and sparkling +2 rating. Bligh was named the Saturday night #1 Star of the Game. For the season, “Nick With The Quick Stick” has collected 12-points as the Fuel’s second leading scorer with his 7-goals being the team’s top total.
TOPPING THE LIST: Entering the new week of the season, the Fuel’s foremost point-makers in order: 1- Cam Reid 14(4-10-14); 2- Nick Bligh 14(7-5-12); 3- Alex Wideman 14(6-5-11); 4- Ryan Rupert 11(2-4-6); 5- Robin Press 12(0-6-6); 6- Zach Miskovic 14(3-3-6); 7- Matt Rupert 14(3-2-5); 8- Reed Seckel 14(1-4-5); 9- Nolan Descoteaux 14(0-5-5); 10- Tommy Olczyk 13(4-0-4); 11- Andrew Schmit 7(0-3-3); 12- Nathan Noel 5(2-0-2); 13- Mike Neal 8(1-1-2); 14- Troy Vance 9(1-1-2).
SPECIAL TEAMS TUNING: It was a productive weekend for the Fuel’s vastly-improved power play this season. Through the 2-games, Indy’s extra man band was 3-11 and 3 for the last 9, 33.3%. In Saturday night’s triumph over Tulsa, the power play sparked the Fuel’s 3-goal second period spree with a pair of snipes 1:05 apart to erase a 2-1 deficit and catapult them into a 3-2 advantage. It marked the fourth time in 14-games thus far this season that the Fuel had percolated multiple PPG in a single game. They accomplished this feat a mere four times all last season. For the season, the Fuel are 12-63 for a proficiency rating of 19%. Indy registered only 28-PPG all last season. As far as the penalty-killing category is concerned, the Fuel were 15-18 for an efficiency rating of 83.3%. For the year, the Fuel are 53-62 for a rating of 85.5%. Indy has connected on 3-SHG already this season. The Fuel scored only 4-SHG all last season.
THE MILESTONES MINT: Team captain Mike Neal (98) is only 2-goals away from pro career 200. Defenseman Zach Miskovic (91) is 9-assists away from career 100. Center Reed Seckel (191) is 9-PIM from 200 for his pro career. Left wing Radovan Bondra scored his first-ever pro goal, the Fuel’s lone goal Tuesday night, in the team’s 4-1 setback inflicted by Toledo. Center/right wing Nathan Noel’s 2-SHG in the first period of Friday night’s 6-2 defeat of Kalamazoo were the first 2-goals of his pro career. Noel also matched the club record for most SHG in a single period, originally set by Mike Neal in the 2016-17 season. Newly-acquired left wing Stephen Collins, the two-time reigning Division III College Player of the Year, earned his first pro point with an assist on Cam Reid’s GWG Saturday night against Tulsa.
FUEL FACTS: After allowing the game’s FG in 9 of their first 12-games, the Fuel propelled the FG in both weekend wins. After not scoring a single first period goal through their first 4-home games, the Fuel fired 3 opening period strikes Friday night before adding another one on Saturday night. Indy had been outscored on home ice in the opening stanza, 4-0. The past weekend, the Fuel struck with season’s best 3-goal outbursts in the first period Friday night and second period on Saturday night. Indy’s 6-goal output Friday night against Kalamazoo represented their best offensive production in one game this season. The 6-goals nearly equaled the Fuel’s entire goal output through their first 4-home games of a grand total of 7. The Fuel are 4(3-0-1) entering the third period with the lead and 6(0-6-0) when trailing. The Fuel’s 4-3 win Saturday night over Tulsa was their 4th straight victory over the Oilers dating back to last season and their third in a row on home ice. Indy’s 3-goals second period barrage in 2:39 Saturday night represented their fastest 3-goals thus far this season.
THE FUEL / THE FAN 1070: All this season, all the Indy Fuel action, home and away, play-by-play, all the way can be heard on the world-wide internet on 1070thefan.com. “The Voice of the Fuel,” Terry Ficorelli will describe all the action radio ice-side for the hometown team. This week’s broadcast schedule consists of two home games from the Indiana Farmers Coliseum, beginning Friday night at 7:00 pm against Fort Wayne, followed Saturday night against the Kansas City Mavericks, also at 7:00 pm.
INDY FUEL LIVE: The next edition of “INDY FUEL LIVE” is set for December 19th 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 NOW: Individual tickets are now available for the 2018 CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic taking place at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum on January 15, 2018! 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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