HAMMER THE NAIL: In their first matchup since January 18th, the Indy Fuel host the Wheeling Nailers at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The Fuel comes into Thursday night having only won two out of their last five games and prior to that losing four straight. The Nailers enter Thursday having lost seven out of their last eight games, most recently falling 3-2 to the Fort Wayne Komets on Wednesday night.
THE MATCHUP: Thursday's game will be the sixth time this season that the two teams have met, with Wheeling earning a 4-1-0-0 record against the Fuel. All four of Wheeling's wins have come with them scoring either the tying or go-ahead goal in the final five minutes of the game. With Indy earning the 4-1 win in the most recent game with Wheeling, they will be looking to keep that trend on Thursday night. The Fuel have struggled as of late, only earning one win last weekend, although pitching a shutout through 67 minutes in Friday's shootout loss to Kalamazoo.
POINTS LEADERS: Earning two points in the three games last weekend, second-year forward Spencer Watson leads the Fuel in points this season. Putting up 28 goals and 28 assists through 51 games, Watson has had a career year in 2019-20. Playing in four out of the five games between Indy and Wheeling, Watson also leads the team with three goals and three assists against the Nailers. Skating in 56 games for the Nailers this season, 26-year-old Cam Brown leads the team in both goals and points. Having earned 17 goals and 21 assists through 56 games, Brown is just four points ahead of Yushiroh Hirano for the team lead.
MINDING THE NETS: Skating in two out of the three games last weekend, Dan Bakala made 56 saves on 60 total shots. Pitching a shutout through 67 minutes but eventually falling in a shootout on Friday night, Bakala helped the team to earn three points in three games to close out the month of February. Appearing in 15 games for the Fuel, the Calgary, Alberta native has registered a 2.64 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage. Splitting time with Bakala, Charles Williams and Chase Marchand each have earned a save percentage above .900 this season. Dropping his last two games, Emil Larmi has appeared in nine games for the Nailers, earning a 3.08 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage. Similar to the Fuel, Wheeling has split time between three goaltenders with Alex D'Orio earning a .891 save percentage and Jordan Ruby earning his own percentage of .910.
LOOKING AHEAD: Only playing on Thursday and Friday, the Fuel will enjoy a rare Saturday and Sunday off before heading Kalamazoo on Wednesday. Indy will return home to host the Wichita Thunder on Friday, March 13th where Fuel fans will have the chance to meet Perd Hapley from Parks and Recreation during the annual Netflix Night.