The Indy Fuel are already into a busy week, having played Monday in Orlando (a 7-2 loss), which is why this is appearing a day later than normal, but the team returns home after a three-game roadtrip for two games in three nights, then finishes the week in Fort Wayne before the holiday break.
The Fuel will be beginning a busy stretch of games — and home games. In the next 7 weeks, Indy will play 12 games at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum, starting with Wednesday’s tilt against Reading. The confines of the Coliseum have been friendly to the Fuel, where the team is 5-5-2 on the year. Make sure to check out Tony Brown’s weekly release.
Record: 5-13-5 (7th, ECHL North)
Last week: Last week, the team went 0-2-1 in Florida, but had a couple of good showings against the East Division-leading Everblades, falling 3-2 on Friday after nearly completing a rally from an early deficit. On Saturday, the Fuel did rally from an early three-goal deficit to take a lead in the third, but fell 5-4 in a shootout. On Monday, they finished the trip with a 7-2 defeat in Orlando. Pete Massar had two goals and an assists on Saturday night to lead the team, while Dan Ford had the go-ahead goal in the third and also added an assist. Robert Czarnik (2G), Justin Holl (G, A), Nick Bruneteau (3A), Dillon Fournier (G, A) and Mike Duco (G, A) all had multi-point weeks. Newly-acquired G Eric Levine made two starts and stopped 53 of the 62 shots he faced. Cody Reichard started Monday’s game and came on in relief on Saturday. He stopped 26 of 27 on Saturday and 28 of 32 for the weekend.
Fuel bits: Robert Czarnik has a goal in 8 of his last 10 games. Mathieu Brisebois, who returns to the Fuel Wednesday, is third among ECHL defenders in power play assists (7). Indy has the ECHL’s No. 2 power play (22-87, 25.3%), 27th on the PK, and is fifth in the ECHL with four shorthanded goals. Indy has played a great number of one-goal games, and is 2-7-5 in those contests (add in games where empty-netters made them two-goal games, and 16 of the Fuel’s 22 games have come down to a goal). Garett Bembridge had a five-game goal streak snapped last week. It is tied for the longest such streak in the ECHL. Bembridge’s streak of goals in five straight home games is still active. … Czarnik (13-9-22) leads the team in scoring. Bembridge (6-5-11) has become a point-a-game player in his 13 games with the Fuel. Bruneteau (1-12-13) is the top scoring defenseman, while Holl (3-9-12) is the top goal scorer among defensemen.
Wednesday: vs. Reading Royals (12-9-2), 7:05 p.m., Indiana Farmers Coliseum (TV: HTSN-6.2, Radio: WXNT-1430)
Season series: Fuel trail 0-2-0
Previous meetings: Nov. 22 at Reading: REA 4-3; Nov. 23 at Reading: REA 2-1. The Fuel and Royals meet for the third of eight times overall this season, and the first of four at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. In the two previous meetings in Reading, Robert Czarnik had a goal and two assists, Kirill Gotovets and Justin Holl two goals each and Rhett Bly a goal and an assist. Cody Reichard stoped 62 of the 66 shots he faced in the two games. Reading is led in the head-to-head series by Pat Mullane (G, 2A) and Zach Davies (3A). Martin Ouellette stopped 39 of 40 shots in the 2-1 win in the second game of the weekend. The next meeting is Jan. 3 in Indy. Reading went 2-1-0 last weekend in a three-game series with Wheeling, winning 5-4, 2-1 and falling 3-2. Over the week, forward Ryan Cruthers had a goal and four assists, including all four helpers in the 5-4 win. Pat Mullane had a goal and three assists. Forward Willie Coetzee had the big week, with five assists. Frandon Alderson had two goals and two assists. Ouellette was 2-0-0 in net, stopping 74 of the 79 shots he faced. Connor Knapp was 0-1 and allowed three goals on 32 shots Sunday. Reading scored two shorthanded goals on Sunday. Reading is led in scoring by Adam Hughesman (9-15-24) and Mullane (8-11-19), as well as Cam Reid (7-12-19). Adam Comrie is third in the ECHL in defenseman goal scoring (6). Reading is 13th on the PP (17.7%) and 18th on the PK (81.7%). Reading is the ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Friday: vs. Toledo Walleye (17-4-2), 7:35 p.m., Indiana Farmers Coliseum (TV: HTSN-6.2. Radio: WXNT-1430
Season series: First meeting
This is the first of five meetings between the Fuel and Walleye — seven were scheduled originally, but two were exchanged for dates with the new expansion clubs from the CHL. The teams will see each other again on Jan. 2 at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Toledo has been one of the league’s best teams, with a 17-4-3 mark. It has also been one of the busiets — the visit to Indy will be the team’s seventh game in an 11-day stretch. The Walleye, so far, have gone 3-1-2 in that stretch, most recently dropping a 2-1 OT decision to Greenville on Tuesday, and winning a 5-4 game against Fort Wayne on Sunday that capped a three-game weekend. Against Fort Wayne, old friend Shane Berschbach had the GWG and three assists and forward Martin Frk had two goals. Goaltender Jeff Lerg stopped 35 of 39. Forward Marek Tvrdon scored against Greenville, and Neil Conway made 32 saves in net. Anthony Luciani (12-15-27) and Tyler Barnes (11-16-27) lead the team in scoring, and are tied for fifth in the ECHL. Barnes is also the league’s top-scoring rookie. Tvrdon has 24 points (6-18-24) and is second among rookie scoring leaders, and Kyle Bonis is the leading goal scorer (12-5-17). Lerg (11-2-1, 2.74) handles the majority of starts in net, although Conway (2-0-1) has a solid GAA (2.20). Toledo has the ECHL’s top PP (29.4%) and third on the PK (87.7%). The Walleye are good with a lead — 11-0-0 when ahead after one and 13-0-0 after two. Toledo is the ECHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings.
Saturday: at Fort Wayne Komets (18-4-1), 7:35 p.m., Allen County War Memorial Coliseum (Radio: WXNT-1430)
Season series: Fuel trail 0-3-2
Previous meetings: 10/17: FTW 5-4 SO at Indy; 10/18 FTW 4-3 at Fort Wayne; 10/26: FTW 4-0 at Indy; 11/27 FTW 2-1 SO at Fort Wayne; 12/6 FTW 5-1 at Indy
The Fuel and Komets meet again, for the second of three December meetings. It’ll be the third of six visits to Fort Wayne for the Fuel, who will also head up I-69 on New Year’s Eve. Fort Wayne has been a hot team of late, having gone 7-0-1 in its last eight. The most recent game was a 5-4 OT loss to Toledo on Sunday, coming after the Komets had swept Evansville the two previous nights. Garrett Meurs led the Komets last week with two goals and two assists. Shawn Szydlowski had two goals. Eric Faille had a goal and two assists. Pat Nagle (12-3-1, 2.44) handles the majority of work between the pipes for the Komets, and leads the ECHL in wins. He stopped 68 of 76 last weekend in three games. Meurs had a big game the last time the Komets and Fuel met, with two goals. Garett Bembridge had Indy’s goal. Szydlowski (12-11-23) and Faille (10-13-23) lead the team in scoring. Mike Embach (6-14-20) and James Martin (4-16-20) are also 20-point scorers. Faille is third in the ECHL in rookie scoring and Martin is the league’s highest-scoring defenseman. Fort Wayne is 18th on the PP (15.6%) and 24th on the PK (79.4%). Before heading to Indy, the Komets travel to Kalamazoo Friday. Fort Wayne is the ECHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalance.
The Fuel made a couple of moves at the start of the week. First, Chicago re-assigned defenseman Mathieu Brisebois to the Fuel on Monday after a brief stint in Rockford. And on Wednesday, the Fuel dealt F Travis Ouellette to Gwinnett in exchange for the rights to forward Bobby Hughes. He has played 240 professional games in the AHL & ECHL since 2006. Hughes was a fourth-round pick of the Hurricanes in 2006. Last year, he had 11 goals and 15 assists in 36 games. He had two goals and two assists in eight games this season for Gwinnett. And, after being reassigned to Indy in the middle of last week by Worcester, defenseman Nick Jones was recalled to the AHL Sharks. Wednesday PM update: The Blackhawks reassigned goaltender Mac Carruth to the Fuel as part of a series of organizational goalie moves that saw Corey Crawford activated to the NHL roster from the injured list, Scott Darling assigned to Rockford and Carruth to Indy. Carruth is 0-3-3 with a 3.11 GAA with the Fuel.
7 Dean Chelios (6-2, 185, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.). Age: 25. Shoots: L. Last team: Toledo Walleye (ECHL) (Fuel)
9 Rhett Bly (5-10, 185, Regina, Sask.). Age: 25. Shoots: L. Last team: Merrimack (NCAA) (Fuel)
12 Klarc Wilson (6-2, 206, Edmonton, Alb.). Age: 21. Shoots: R. Last team: Prince George Cougars (WHL) (Fuel)
*14 (C) Mike Duco (5-10, 200, Toronto, Ont.). Age: 27. Shoots: R. Last team: Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL) (Fuel)
16 Pete Massar (5-9, 180, Williston, Vt.). Age: 25. Shoots: R. Last team: Missouri Mavericks (CHL) (Fuel)
18 Jamie Wise (6-0, 205, Stouffville, Ont.). Age: 23. Shoots: R. Last team: Ryerson University (OUAA) (Rockford IceHogs)
19 Patrick Cullen (5-11, 189, Washington, DC). Age: 25. Shoots: L. Last team: Dresden (Germany-2) (Fuel)
20 Matt White (6-2, 198, McMurray, Pa.). Age: 23. Shoots: L. Last team: Vermont (NCAA) (Fuel)
27 Robert Czarnik (6-0, 188, Detroit, Mich.). Age: 24. Shoots: R. Last team: Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL) (Fuel)
*41 (A) Garett Bembridge (6-0, 180, Saskatoon, Sask.). Age: 33. Shoots: R. Last team: Missouri Mavericks (ECHL) (Fuel)
2 Anders Franzon (6-3, 196, Plattsburgh, NY). Age: 25. Shoots: R. Last team: Missouri Mavericks (CHL) (Fuel)
4 Nick Bruneteau (5-10, 182, Omaha, Neb.). Age: 22. Shoots: R. Last team: Reading Royals (ECHL) (Fuel)
6 Mathieu Brisebois (5-11, 180, Mont St-Hilaire, Que.). Age: 22. Shoots: R. Last team: Rockford IceHogs (AHL) (Blackhawks)
10 Dan Ford (6-1, 195, Skaneateles, NY.). Age: 24. Shoots: L. Last team: Reading (ECHL) (Fuel)
23 Dillon Fournier (6-2, 187, Montreal, PQ). Age: 20. Shoots: L. Last team: Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL) (Blackhawks)
24 Kirill Gotovets (5-11, 194, Minsk, Belarus). Age: 23. Shoots: L. Last team: Milwaukee Admirals (AHL) (Rockford IceHogs)
25 Justin Holl (6-3, 195, Tonka Bay, Minn.). Age: 22. Shoots: R. Last team: Minnesota (NCAA) (Rockford IceHogs)
1 Cody Reichard (5-11, 165, Celina, Ohio). Age: 27. Catches: L. Last team: Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL) (Fuel)
33 Eric Levine (6-3, 180, Wheeling, Ill.). Age: 26. Catches: L. Last team: Peoria Rivermen (SPHL) (Fuel)
35 Mac Carruth (6-2, 160, Jackson, Wyo.). Age: 22. Catches: L. Last team: Rockford IceHogs (AHL) (Blackhawks)
*88 (A) Garrett Klotz (6-6, 250, Regina, Sask.). Age: 25. Shoots: L. Last team: Allen Americans (CHL) (Fuel)
21-day IR (2)
8 Ildar Telyakov (6-9, 216, St. Petersburg, Russia). Age: 23. Shoots: L. Last team: St. Charles Chill (CHL) (Fuel) D
21 Johnny McGuire (6-1, 205, Peterborough, Ont.). Age: 21. Shoots: R. Last team: Idaho Steelheads (ECHL) (Fuel) F
Suspended list (1)
XX Bobby Hughes (6-0, 185, Richmond Hill, Ont.). Age: 27. Shoots: L. Last team: Gwinnett Gladiators (ECHL) (Fuel) F
Looking ahead: The Fuel will return home after Christmas to play the Cincinnati Cyclones on Dec. 26-27 at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.