INDIANAPOLIS - The ECHL's Indy Fuel announced a series of roster moves on Tuesday afternoon ahead of their game against the Idaho Steelheads at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The Fuel have acquired defenseman Miles Liberati from the Allen Americans in exchange for forward Johnny McInnis. In separate transactions, the National Hockey League's Chicago Blackhawks announced Monday that they have reassigned goaltender Kevin Lankinen (LAHN-keh-nen) from the American Hockey League's Rockford IceHogs to Indy, while the IceHogs have also recalled forward Brett Welychka from the Fuel.
Liberati, 23, comes to Indy after registering an assist and six penalty minutes in four games with the Americans to start the season. The 6-foot, 205-pound blueliner from Cheswick, Penn. is in his third year in the ECHL, accumulating six goals and 20 assists in 106 total games between Allen and the Reading Royals. Prior to turning pro, Liberati played four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League, posting 106 points (38g, 68a) in 240 junior contests with the Kitchener Rangers, the North Bay Battalion and the London Knights. The seventh round selection of the Vancouver Canucks (No. 205 overall) in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft made an appearance in the Memorial Cup with London in 2013.
Lankinen, 23, has seen action in two games this season for Rockford, logging a 0-1-1 record. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound netminder made 18 saves in his AHL debut on Oct. 5 in Cleveland, before stopping 15 of 19 shots on Oct. 19 in Tucson. A native of Helsinki, Finland, Lankinen is playing his first professional season in North America after spending the last four years in the Liiga - the top professional league in Finland. In 15 games for HIFK in 2017-18, Lankinen posted a 10-3-2 record alongside a 1.33 goals against average and a .946 save percentage, both career high marks. Lankinen signed a two-year contract with the Blackhawks on May 21.
Welychka, 24, returns to Rockford after posting two goals and two assists in five games with the Fuel to start the 2018-19 season. The 5-foot-10, 187-pound forward recorded his first ECHL goal on Oct. 13 against Kalamazoo, and logged a goal and two assists in Indy's 4-3 overtime win against Toledo on Oct. 20. A native of London, Ontario, Welychka made his professional debut during an eight-game stint with the AHL's Manitoba Moose at the end of the 2017-18 season, scoring a goal and an assist.
The Fuel begin a stretch of four games in five days Tuesday as they open a quick two-game homestand at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Following the meeting with the Steelheads, Indy welcomes Utah on Thursday night before heading to Fort Wayne on Friday and Wheeling on Saturday.
Single-game tickets are now on sale for the Fuel's 5th anniversary season at Indiana Farmers Coliseum! Lock up your seat for every second of the action at Indiana Farmers Coliseum with a Fuel Ticket Plan - grab yours by heading to IndyFuelHockey.com or by calling the Fuel front office at 317-925-FUEL. Don't forget to follow the Fuel on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (IndyFuel) for news, updates, contests and much more throughout the 2018-19 season.
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