Indy heads to Kalamazoo Saturday for crucial road meeting with Wings

FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL AT WINGS

Mar 9, 2019
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FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL AT WINGS

SATURDAY, MARCH 9 - 7:30 P.M.

WINGS EVENT CENTER, KALAMAZOO, MICH.

BROADCAST INFO: ECHL.TV

THE MATCHUP: The Indy Fuel (27-28-2-1) will be fighting for their playoff lives Saturday night as they visit Wings Event Center for a critical showdown with the Kalamazoo Wings (30-24-2-2). Puck drop between the Central Division rivals is set for 7:30 p.m. ET, with live coverage available through ECHL.TV.

The Fuel's postseason prospects were dealt another blow Friday night with a tightly-contested 4-2 loss to the division-leading Cincinnati Cyclones at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. With the Wings falling in overtime to the Fort Wayne Komets on Friday, the gap between Indy and playoff positioning in the Central grew to seven points with 14 games left to play in the regular season. 

Dropping two straight games and four of their last six heading into Saturday, the Fuel are in search of a spark to help lead a late surge up the division ladder. Including Saturday's contest, Indy still has eight games remaining against Kalamazoo, Fort Wayne and Wheeling – the three teams that the Fuel need to catch up to in order to snag one of the Central's top four spots. 

Indy holds a 6-4 edge in the 2018-19 season series with the Wings, including a decisive 5-1 victory in Indianapolis last Saturday. Making their final trip of the season to Wings Event Center, the Fuel have skated to a 2-3 record through five games in Michigan, with the Wings winning each of the last two. The two clubs will wrap up their 12-game season slate at Indiana Farmers Coliseum on March 29. 

LAST TIME OUT: The Fuel carried a two-goal lead into the first intermission, but the first-place Cincinnati Cyclones rallied with four unanswered tallies to leave Indiana Farmers Coliseum with a 4-2 victory on Friday night. The Cyclones scored twice in the third period to break a 2-2 tie, with Myles Powell providing the go-ahead goal at 4:36 of the frame. Zach Miskovic and Samuel Thibault found the net for Indy, while Matt Tomkins turned aside 20 of 23 shots in the loss.

BIG NIGHT FOR BLUELINERS: Indy’s fast start on Friday was led by its back end, with defensemen accounting for both of the club’s first period goals. Zach Miskovic opened the night’s scoring with his first tally since Dec. 8, ending a 30-game goal scoring drought. Later in the opening frame, Samuel Thibault beat Michael Houser off an offensive zone draw to register the first goal of his professional career. 

SCOUTING THE WINGS: With points in four of their last six games (3-2-1-0), the Wings find themselves in fourth place in the Cental Division standings, one behind Fort Wayne and three in front of the fifth place Wheeling Nailers. In order to hang on to its spot in the top four, Kalamazoo must endure a tough schedule down the final stretch. All but one of the Wings’ final 14 games come against Central Division opponents, with eight of the club’s last nine contests taking place on the road.

OTHER NOTABLES: With an assist Friday, forward Olivier Labelle became the eighth Fuel skater to reach the 30-point plateau this season ... Kalamazoo’s Chris Collins ranks second in ECHL rookie scoring, leading the Wings with 55 points (25g, 30a) in 46 games ... Samuel Thibault’s first period marker was Indy’s 10th shorthanded goal this season ... Indy has a -20 goal differential in the third period. 

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