FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL AT WINGS
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7 - 7:30 P.M.
WINGS EVENT CENTER, KALAMAZOO, MICH.
BROADCAST INFO: ECHL.TV
THE MATCHUP: The Indy Fuel (10-10-0-0) kick off a three-game weekend road swing Friday night as they visit the Kalamazoo Wings (7-10-0-1) at Wings Event Center. Fans can catch the third of 12 meetings this season between the Central Division rivals live on Facebook Watch, with coverage starting at 7:20 p.m. ET.
Making their first of six visits to Wings Event Center in 2018-19, the Fuel are looking for their third straight win over Kalamazoo after picking up a pair of come-from-behind victories at Indiana Farmers Coliseum to start the season series. The two teams last squared off on Nov. 24, when the Fuel exploded for five goals in the third period to secure a 6-3 triumph.
Indy fared well in Southwest Michigan last season, skating to a 5-2-0-0 record in seven trips to Wings Event Center. The Fuel have won five straight meetings with the Wings dating back to the end of the 2017-18 season, including four of their last five in Kalamazoo.
LAST TIME OUT: Indy snapped a two game losing skid with a 4-3 shootout victory over the Kansas City Mavericks Tuesday night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Forward Kevin Dufour scored in both regulation and the shootout, while goaltender Matt Tomkins capped off a 32-save performance by going a perfect 3-for-3 in the breakaway competition. Zach Miskovic and Matt Rupert also chipped in power play goals for Indy, snapping a seven game goal-scoring drought with the man advantage.
WALK OFF WINNERS: After the Mavericks scored two third period goals to tie Tuesday's game up at 3-3, the Fuel ventured past regulation time for only the second time this season. Indy's only previous game that wasn't decided in 60 minutes came on Oct. 20, when Quentin Shore scored in the final moments of overtime to lift the Fuel to a 4-3 victory over the Toledo Walleye. Last season Indy played a total of 11 games decided in overtime or a shootout, finishing with a 5-0-5-1 record.
DUFOUR SCORE AND SEVEN YEARS AGO: Continuing his strong recent play on Tuesday was forward Kevin Dufour, who became the first Fuel player since Anthony Beauregard on Nov. 11, 2016 to find the back of the net in both regulation time and the shootout in the same game. Dufour's first period goal was his ninth of the season, lifting the second year pro into a tie with Josh Shalla for the team lead. Over his last 11 games, Dufour has tallied eight goals and four assists.
MR. 500: Friday's contest is a special one for Fuel defenseman Zach Miskovic, who will be suiting up for his 500th career professional game. The 10th year veteran is already Indy's franchise leader in games played with 206 heading into the weekend, and has not missed a game since March 26, 2017 - a span of 98 straight games in the lineup for the Fuel. A native of River Forest, Ill., Miskovic has skated in a total of 212 ECHL games with Indy and Cincinnati, tallying 21 goals and 41 assists.
ROSTER SHUFFLING: The Fuel saw a series of transactions take place following Tuesday's game against Kansas City. After recording his first AHL win last weekend for the Rockford IceHogs, goaltender Kevin Lankinen was reassigned by the Chicago Blackhawks to the Fuel, while defenseman Josh McArdle was recalled by the IceHogs. Indy also acquired forward Avery Peterson from the Norfolk Admirals, while forward Jordy Stallard was placed on team suspension.
WINGS RISING: After seeing their losing streak hit six games following a 6-3 setback in Indianapolis on Nov. 24, the Wings have since rattled off three straight victories. Kalamazoo defeated the Wheeling Nailers 6-4 on Nov. 27, before sweeping a two game road swing through Reading and Wheeling over the weekend. The second win over the Nailers came courtesy of a 30-save shutout performance from Jake Hildebrand, who snapped an eight game winless streak in the process. The Wings (15 points) enter the weekend in a fifth place tie with Wheeling in the Central Division standings, five back of the Fuel and Fort Wayne Komets, who both sit at 20 points.
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