FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL VS. OILERS
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14 - 7:35 P.M.
INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM, INDIANAPOLIS
TICKETS: TICKETMASTER, INDIANA FARMERS COLISEUM BOX OFFICE
BROADCAST INFO: INDYFUELHOCKEY.COM, ECHL.TV
THE MATCHUP: Following a three game road trip last weekend, the Indy Fuel (11-12-0-0) return to Indiana Farmers Coliseum Friday night as they open up a two game set with the Tulsa Oilers (13-7-3-2). The first of three straight home games for the Fuel is set for a 7:35 p.m. ET puck drop, with tickets still available at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum box office.
This weekend's doubleheader is the only time the Fuel and Oilers meet up during the 2018-19 regular season. Indy won two of three games against Tulsa in 2017-18, including both contests taking place in the Circle City. Both clubs are in their fifth seasons in the ECHL, with the Fuel holding a slight 4-3-0-0 edge in the all-time series against each other, including a 3-1-0-0 mark at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
LAST TIME OUT: The Fuel ended a three-game weekend road trip Sunday afternoon on the wrong end of a 5-1 drubbing courtesy of the Wheeling Nailers at WesBanco Arena. Wheeling forwards Nick Saracino (2g, 3a) and Cam Brown (4a) combined for nine points as the Nailers built a 5-0 lead after 40 minutes of play. Zach Miskovic got Indy on the board with a third period tally, but the Fuel ultimately saw their road record drop to 3-9 on the season with the setback.
HOME SWEET HOME: For as much as they have struggled to pick up points away from Central Indiana this season, the Fuel have been a formidable club on home ice. Coach Bernie John's group has an 8-3-0-0 record at Indiana Farmers Coliseum through 11 games, heading into one of the most home-friendly stretches of their 2018-19 schedule. Beginning Friday, 10 of Indy's next 13 contests through Jan. 11 take place in the Circle City. The Fuel have outscored their opponents by a 41-31 margin at home, while they have been outscored 52-32 on the road.
IRON MAN MISKO: Fuel captain Zach Miskovic has been a steady presence on the Fuel blue line since he joined the club back in 2015-16, and now his reliability has helped the 10th year professional reach a couple of impressive milestones last weekend. After skating in his 500th career professional game Friday in Kalamazoo, Miskovic dressed in his 100th straight game for the Fuel Saturday night in Fort Wayne. To find the last time the native of River Forest, Ill. was not in the lineup for Indy, you would have to go back to March 26, 2017.
IT'S GETTING TIGHT AROUND HERE: The Central has continued to be one of the league's most hotly-contested divisions during the first half of the ECHL season. Cincinnati (37 points) and Toledo (32 points) are battling for first place, while the remaining four clubs are separated by a meager three points as of Friday morning. Indy enters the weekend in fourth place with 22 points, two back of the Fort Wayne Komets, but only one ahead of the surging Kalamazoo Wings and Wheeling Nailers. The Wings have won six of their last seven outings, while Wheeling has won three straight.
OIL CHECK: The Oilers arrive to Indianapolis looking for relief from what has been a rough start of December. After picking up points in 15 of the club's first 17 games this season, Tulsa has dropped each of its last six games. Four games into a seven-game road trip through the Central Divsion, the Oilers came up empty during stops in Toledo, Kalamazoo and Fort Wayne over the weekend, before falling 4-1 in Cincinnati on Wednesday.
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