FANIMATION GAME PREVIEW: FUEL AT WALLEYE
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9 - 7:15 P.M.
HUNTINGTON CENTER, TOLEDO, OHIO
BROADCAST INFO: ECHL.TV
THE MATCHUP: The Indy Fuel (23-21-2-1) begin a five game stretch away from Central Indiana Saturday night as they head to the Huntington Center Saturday night for the first of two games against the Toledo Walleye (27-11-4-3). The puck drops at 7:15 p.m. ET between the Central Division rivals, with live coverage available through ECHL.TV.
After falling on home ice Friday to the red-hot Kalamazoo Wings, the Fuel make the trip to Ohio to finish a stretch of four games in five nights with a doubleheader against the Walleye. The Saturday-Sunday set in Toledo is the first leg of a five-game road trip for Indy, one that continues next week with a stop in Cincinnati and a two-game venture to Wichita.
The Fuel are looking to snap a two-game skid, both losses coming against a Wings squad that has surged from the Central Division basement to third place by winning eight of their last nine outings. Only four points separate the third through sixth-place teams in the division, with Indy (49 points) holding a share of fourth place with the Fort Wayne Komets, while the sixth-seeded Wheeling Nailers lurk just three points back (46).
Entering the weekend with 61 points, Toledo still holds a comfortable cushion in second place in the Central, trailing the division-leading Cyclones by eight points. The Walleye have picked up at least a point in seven of their last eight games, and are 4-1-1-1 through seven games of a nine-game homestand that wraps up this weekend against the Fuel.
The Fuel and Walleye are facing off for the first time since Dec. 21, when Toledo rallied to take a 6-5 decision at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The two clubs have split the first four meetings of their eight-game season series, with Toledo winning the previous two. Friday is the second of four encounters taking place at Huntington Center; the Walleye grabbed a 4-2 victory during Indy's first trip to Toledo on Dec. 1.
LAST TIME OUT: The Fuel erased a pair of one-goal deficits, but the Wings were able to get a late go-ahead goal to complete a two-game sweep of Indy with a 4-2 victory Friday at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Kyle Thomas struck with just under five minutes remaining in regulation to break a 2-2 tie, before Kalamazoo sealed the win with a last-minute empty net tally. Josh Shalla and Mathew Thompson picked up goals for the Fuel, who were making the first of only three appearances on home ice during the month of February.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: After playing a total of 13 games on home ice from Dec. 14 to Jan. 26, the Fuel are now logging some quality time away from Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Currently in the middle of a stretch that sees the club play eight of nine on the road, Saturday night's contest is the first of five straight games as the visitor for the Fuel. Indy has struggled outside of Central Indiana this season, holding a 2-5-1-0 mark in its last eight on the road and a 7-14-1-0 record overall away from home.
TAILING THE FISH: Since hosting the CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic in mid-January, the Walleye haven't had to leave their backyard, with Saturday's tilt marking the club's eighth straight game at the Huntington Center. Idle on Friday night, Toledo's last action came last Saturday in a 2-0 shutout win over the Brampton Beast. The Walleye have been no stranger to extra hockey over the last four weeks, with six of their last 10 games being decided in either overtime or a shootout.
OTHER NOTABLES: Quentin Shore's first period assist Friday was the 100th point in his ECHL career (40g, 60a) ... Fuel forward Logan Nelson saw his 10-game point streak come to an end Friday night against Kalamazoo. Nelson tallied five goals and nine assists from Jan. 12 to Feb. 6 ... Toledo's TJ Hensick leads the ECHL in both point scoring (56) and assists (40) ... Indy is 11-5-2-1 in games decided by one goal.
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