After a whirlwind week where the Fuel played four games in five days, the Indy Fuel return to the ice this weekend with two games — a home-and-home with the Evansville IceMen. The Halloween night game will be at the Fairgrounds Coliseum, with the Saturday game at the Ford Center in Evansville, which will begin a three-game road swing for the Fuel.
Record (W-L-OTL-SOL): 1-3-1-1
Looking back: The Fuel had a lot of bright spots last week. After falling behind by scores of 3-1 and 4-2 Wednesday against a solid Kalamazoo team, the Fuel rallied with goals by Brett Perlini and Patrick Cullen just over a minute apart, and got some solid goaltending from Cody Reichard to send the game to OT. There, Kalamazoo’s Eric Kattelus scored his second of the game at the 1:10 mark to beat the Fuel 5-4, but the Fuel were able to get a standings point … On Friday, they got two, exploding for four third-period goals in a 5-1 victory over the Missouri Mavericks, the first win in franchise history. Mike Duco, Robert Czarnik and Rhett Bly scored 2:13 apart in the third period to turn a tie game into a big win. Czarnik scored twice and extended his scoring streak to four games. … On Saturday, Garrett Klotz gave the Fuel an early lead, but Evansville was able to rally and beat the Fuel 4-2. Rhett Bly extended his goal scoring streak to three games. … On Sunday, Fort Wayne’s Francois Tremblay shut out the Fuel 4-0.
This week’s games
Friday: vs. Evansville IceMen (2-0-0-0), 7:35 p.m., Fairgrounds Coliseum (TV: HTSN-6.2. Radio: WXNT-1430/cbssports1430.com)
Saturday: at Evansville IceMen (2-0-0-0), 8:15 p.m., Ford Center (Radio: WXNT-1430/cbssports1430.com)
The Fuel and IceMen will be pretty darned familiar with each other after this weekend. This will mark their second and third meetings in an eight-day span — and their fourth overall, counting the preseason meeting they had on Oct. 12. While the Fuel have been busy — playing six games in the first 10 days of the regular season — Evansville has just played two Saturday-night contests, winning both. This will be just the third and fourth game for the IceMen, and three straight will have been against the Fuel. Evansville has been strong on the back end, having allowed three goals in two games so far, making goaltender Cal Heeter’s 1.50 GAA among the tops in the league. Last week, Patrick Kennedy had two goals in the IceMen’s 4-2 win over the Fuel. Garrett Klotz and Rhett Bly scored for Indy. Evansville is the ECHL affiliate of the Ottawa Senators (and the AHL Binghamton Senators).
Moves: The Fuel have made a couple of roster moves. Defenseman Kirill Gotovets, who suffered an injury in Friday’s game against Missouri, has been placed on the team’s reserve list. Forward Dean Chelios and defenseman Nick Bruneteau were both activated from reserve and played this weekend. (Tuesday PM update) forward Johnny McGuire, who suffered an apparent injury in Sunday’s game against Fort Wayne, was placed on the 21-day IR list. The Fuel currently have 20 players on their active roster.
Of note: Forward Robert Czarnik is tied for the ECHL lead with five goals. His seven points tie him for third in the ECHL, behind Kalamazoo’s Curtis Valk (3-6-9) and Fort Wayne’s Matthew Pistilli (4-4-8). Czarnik also leads the ECHL with three power play tallies. Rhett Bly and Nick Jones are tied for the ECHL lead with three power play assists. Czarnik and Jones are tied for the ECHL lead with four power play points … Czarnik had five goals in the Fuel’s first four games. That four-game scoring streak is, so far, the longest in the ECHL this season. … Rhett Bly had a three-game goal scoring streak that began Wednesday vs. Kalamazoo and continued through Saturday’s game at Evansville. … The Fuel PK has now killed off 12 straight power plays. … The Fuel PP is clicking at 21.4%. The PK is at 80% … The Fuel are outshooting teams 178-170, but hold a 64-48 edge in the second period … get more notes in the Indy Fuel weekly release, put together by the Fuel’s outstanding radio announcer/public relations director Tony Brown.