FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL VS. WINGS
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 13 - 7:35 P.M.
INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM, INDIANAPOLIS
TICKETS: TICKETMASTER, INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM BOX OFFICE
BROADCAST INFO: INDYFUELHOCKEY.COM, ECHL.TV
THE MATCHUP: The Indy Fuel (0-1-0-0) wrap up their Opening Weekend doubleheader at Indiana Farmers Coliseum Saturday as they take on the Kalamazoo Wings (0-0-0-0). The first of 12 meetings between the Central Division rivals, and the first of six in Indianapolis, Saturday marks the Wings' 2018-19 season debut.
LAST TIME OUT: The Fuel enter Saturday's contest looking to bounce back from a tight 3-1 season-opening loss to the Fort Wayne Komets on Friday night. A late second-period tally from Taylor Crunk broke a 1-1 tie, before Indy's comeback attempt was stymied by Komets goaltender Zachary Fucale. After Fort Wayne's Justin Hodgman opened the scoring in the first period, forward Quentin Shore found the net for the Fuel with 17 seconds left in the opening frame. Goaltender Matt Tomkins had a strong night in net for Indy, stopping 28 shots while helping the Fuel's shorthanded unit kill eight of nine Fort Wayne power plays.
PARADE TO THE PENALTY BOX: Perhaps the busiest people inside Indiana Farmers Coliseum Friday night were the penalty box attendants. The Fuel and Komets combined for 25 total infractions and 62 total penalty minutes during the season opener, including 19 minor penalties. Indy, which held the top power play in the ECHL in 2018-19, finished 0-for-8 with the man advantage, while Fort Wayne scored twice in nine opportunities - though the second was an empty netter.
NOW IT'S A RIVALRY: The last time the Indy and Kalamazoo met turned out to be a pretty special game for the Fuel organization. Meeting on April 8, 2018, Indy earned a 2-1 victory over the Wings to punch their first-ever berth to the Kelly Cup Playoffs on the final day of the regular season.
Indy controlled the 2017-18 season series against Kalamazoo, skating to a 7-3-0-0 record against the Wings. The Fuel won five of the final six meetings with the Central Division rival, with the last two coming in Indianapolis. All-time, Indy is 12-8-1-0 against Kalamazoo, with a 6-2-1-0 mark at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
HEY, WE KNOW THOSE GUYS: Fans in attendance (as well as several returning players in the Fuel roster) will recognize a handful of players in Wings uniforms on Saturday night. Kalamazoo's opening night roster boasts a pair of former Fuel goaltenders in Jake Hildebrand and Keegan Asmundson, while defensemen Brandon Anselmini and Travis Armstrong have also both spent time in Indianapolis.
Hildebrand appeared in 47 games with Indy in 2016-17, logging a 18-21-3 record as a rookie while setting a franchise record with four shutouts. Asmundson spent time with the Fuel in both the 2016-17 and 2015-16 campaigns, posting a 6-7-0 record in 15 outings. On the back end, Anselmini split last season between Indy and Rockford, tallying 17 points and 56 penalty minutes in 29 games with the Fuel. Armstrong saw action in 16 games with Indy in 2016-17, posting one goal and three assists.