FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL AT NAILERS
SUNDAY, JANUARY 13 - 3:05 P.M.
WESBANCO ARENA, WHEELING, W.V.
BROADCAST INFO: ECHL.TV
THE MATCHUP: The Indy Fuel (19-17-1-0) close out a weekend doubleheader with the Wheeling Nailers (18-16-2-0) Sunday afternoon at WesBanco Arena. The puck is scheduled to drop at 3:05 p.m. in West Virginia, with live coverage available by logging on to ECHL.TV.
The Fuel enter Sunday's rematch looking to bounce back from a 3-2 loss to the Nailers on Saturday night, while trying to maintain their hold of fourth place in the Central Division standings. Wheeling's victory narrowed Indy's lead to a single point, while the Fuel dropped to four points back of the third-place Fort Wayne Komets, who won their fifth straight contest on Saturday.
Indy and Wheeling are tied 3-3 heading into the seventh game of the 11-game season series between the division rivals. The home team has come out on top in each of the last five games, with the only road victory belonging to Indy in a 5-3 triumph on opening night at WesBanco Arena on Nov. 3.
LAST TIME OUT: The Fuel began the second half of their 2018-19 schedule with a loss, as Wheeling picked up a 3-2 victory to open the two-game set in West Virginia. The Nailers were able to find the net within 30 seconds of both of Indy's goals, building a 2-1 lead after the second period before withstanding a Fuel push in the third. Brett Welychka and Logan Nelson accounted for Indy's scoring, while Craig Skudalski tallied the game-winning goal for Wheeling at 7:02 of the third period. Jason Pawloski dropped to 0-4 in net for the Fuel in the loss, turning aside 25 of 28 shots.
BACK TO THE WELLY: Forward Brett Welychka has found his offensive stride since returning to the Fuel lineup from injury on Dec. 22. Opening the scoring for Indy 17 seconds into the second period, the rookie extended his point streak to five games, picking up his fourth goal over that span. Following a five game absence in mid-December, Welychka has factored in nine of Indy's last 11 contests, picking up five goals and five assists during that stretch.
ROAD TROUBLES: Despite holding one of the best home records in the ECHL at the halfway point of the season, the Fuel have struggled to replicate the same success away from Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Saturday's loss dropped Indy to 5-11-0-0 on the road in 2018-19, the five wins tied for third-lowest in the league. This weekend's trip to Wheeling marks the start of one of the most travel-heavy stretches of the Fuel's schedule, with the club playing the role of the visitor in 11 of their next 15 games.
SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY: Even though Indy crossed the midway point of their regular season schedule on Friday, this afternoon marks just the second time in 2018-19 the club has played on Sunday. The Fuel's last Sunday contest came back at WesBanco Arena on Dec. 9, with the Nailers picking up a 5-1 victory. Indy will be much busier on the final day of the week in the second half, playing a total of nine Sunday games over the final 13 weeks of the 2018-19 schedule.
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