Indy Opens 2019 Season on the Road vs. Wichita
Indy opens the 2019-20 ECHL season on the road against the Wichita ThunderOct 10, 2019
THE MATCHUP: The Indy Fuel kicks off the 2019-20 ECHL season with four road games, the first two games coming against the Wichita Thunder and the Kansas City Mavericks. After splitting the preseason against Cincinnati, Wichita hosts the Fuel on opening night for the second time in franchise history.
LAST TIME OUT: The last time the two teams faced each other was in February of the 2018-19 season when they played four straight games against one another. Each game was a high scoring affair with the final total score of 19-13 for the Fuel. The Fuel came away with three out of four wins against Wichita last season before sliding out of the Central Division playoff picture. Over five seasons as a team Indy has faced Wichita ten times, splitting the series 5-5 as well as splitting at home and at Wichita.
YOUNG GUNS: Similar to the Indy Fuel roster, the Thunder currently have seven rookies on the 2019-20 roster and come into the season with the youngest roster in the league. 2017 4th round draft pick of the Edmonton Oilers Ostap Safin comes to Wichita this season after spending last season in the QMJHL with the Halifax Mooseheads. Joining him on the Wichita roster is Oilers 2016 5th round draft pick, Dylan Wells. Wells split last season between the Wichita Thunder and Bakersfield condors earning a .912 save percentage in 22 games with the Thunder.
NEW FACES: Indy comes into the 2019 season with a brand-new team and brand-new roster. Head Coach Doug Christiansen has brought in several new players and only returning seven players who played for the Fuel during the 2018-19 season. Christiansen signed several players who split time between the American Hockey League and the ECHL last season and played at a 20-goal pace between the two leagues. Along with signing high caliber players to make a run in the Kelly Cup Playoffs, Christiansen brought in assistant coach Andy Contois, who played in the ECHL, earning a spot in the 2008 ECHL All-Star game.
FAMILY MATTERS: Per the usual, for the past five seasons the Chicago Blackhawks and Rockford IceHogs will be well-represented heading into the first game of the 2019-20 season. The Blackhawks reassigned forwards Graham Knott and Nathan Noel to the Fuel roster while the IceHogs assigned forwards Liam Coughlin and Mathew Thompson, defensemen Jake Ryczek, Josh McArdle, Dmitry Osipov, Jack Ramsey and goaltender Chase Marchand to the Indy Fuel roster. Thompson, McArdle and Osipov are familiar faces to the Indy Fuel as they spent the 2018-19 season under ECHL contracts.
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