FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL AT NAILERS
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3 - 7:05 P.M.
WESBANCO ARENA, WHEELING, W.V.
BROADCAST INFO: ECHL.TV
THE MATCHUP: The Indy Fuel wrap up a busy four-game week on Saturday night as they visit the Wheeling Nailers at WesBanco Arena. The first of 11 games this season between the Fuel and Nailers is slated for a 7:05 p.m. puck drop, with live coverage available through ECHL.TV.
The two teams are now competing as divisional rivals, following Wheeling's shift from the North to the Central in the offseason. Indy skated to a 2-3-0-0 record in five games against the Nailers in 2017-18, picking up one win out of three trips to WesBanco Arena. The Nailers claimed a 7-3 triumph in the most recent encounter in West Virginia, coming on Feb. 2, 2018.
LAST TIME OUT: The Fuel could not find a way to make up for a slow start on Friday night, as they fell 5-2 to the Fort Wayne Komets at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. The Komets scored the first four goals of the contests en route to snapping a five game losing streak and handing Indy its third setback in four games. Defenseman Neil Manning and forward Olivier Labelle found the net for the Fuel, while goaltender Matt Tomkins stopped 32 of 37 shots.
NEILED IT: Quietly having himself a strong start to the season for Indy is defenseman Neil Manning. The blueliner notched his second goal of the season Friday in Fort Wayne, and now has found the scoresheet in four of his last five outings. One of four rookie defensemen on the Fuel roster, Manning's five points in eight games ranks second among Indy rearguards.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME: While Saturday's game technically counts as a road game, the Fuel will be getting extremely comfortable playing in WesBanco Arena over the course of the season. Indy will play a total of nine games in Wheeling in 2018-19, which adds up to be a full 25% of their entire road schedule for the regular season. Historically, the Fuel have fared well in West Virginia, entering Saturday with an all-time record of 3-3-0-0 at WesBanco Arena.
CLARKY BEHIND THE BENCH: Saturday's matchup pits the Fuel against a familiar face; not on the ice but on the Wheeling bench. Former Indy forward Dylan Clarke is in his first season as the Nailers' Assistant Coach, after joining the organization over the summer. Clarke played 58 games with the Fuel during the 2015-16 season, recording 31 points (9g, 22a) while leading the team with 143 penalty minutes.
Clarke got his first taste of coaching in 2016-17 when he served as head coach of the Evansville Jr. Thunderbolts in the NA3HL, before returning to the ice the following season to play for the SPHL's Evansville Thunderbolts, leading the team with 23 goals in 51 games.