After going 1-0-1 in a weekend series against Cincinnati, the Indy Fuel have three more games this week, two against the division leaders and a third against a Reading team they’ve played several close games against.
Record: 6-16-6, 7th ECHL North
Last week: The Fuel had a really strong week, with a 4-3 win over Cincinnati that saw Indy rally from two deficits, then get a big game-winning goal from Patrick Cullen on the power play midway through the third. On Saturday, the Fuel put together one of their best defensive performances of the season and got a beautiful power play goal by Mike Duco on a tip of Robert Czarnik’s point feed midway through the second. It looked to be able to stand up, but Cincinnati got a late power play goal to tie and then won it on a long screened shot in overtime. Czarnik led the way offensively with two goals and an assist. Garett Bembridge and Cullen each had a goal and an assist. Mac Carruth played both games in goal and stopped 42 of 47 shots. Indy outshot Cincinnati 33-24 and 29-23 in the two games. The Fuel were 3-11 on the power play on the week, and 11-13 on the penalty kill.
Fuel bits: Indy has gained a point in 9 of its 16 home games (6-7-3), but is seeking its first road victory in 12 chances. The Fuel are 0-9-3 away from the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. … Mac Carruth got his first victory in net last weekend. He’s had a number of near-misses, with four OT/SO losses in 11 starts. Carruth has started the last five games in net. … Forward Klarc Wilson is third among ECHL rookies in penalty minutes (70) and second in major penalties (6). … Matt White leads ECHL rookies with two shorthanded goals. … Mathieu Brisebois leads ECHL defensemen with two shootout tallies. … Indy is the ECHL’s eighth-least penalized team, averaging 13.93 PIM per game. … Robert Czarnik has points in 13 of his last 16 games, including three straight, and now has 16 goals and 11 assists on the season to lead the team. Garett Bembridge, Mike Duco and Patrick Cullen are all 7-7-14 with Indy. … Rhett Bly (5-9), Justin Holl (3-11) and Nick Bruneteau (1-13) also have 14 points. … Defenseman Dan Ford (+2 in 14 games) leads the team in +/-. … The Fuel have the ECHL’s third-best power play (22.7) and rank 23rd on the PK (79.8).
This week’s games
Wednesday: at Fort Wayne Komets (22-6-1), 7:30 p.m., Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Radio: WXNT-1430
Season series: Fuel trail 0-4-2
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; 12/20 FTW 3-1 at Fort Wayne
This is the seventh meeting between the two rivals, and the fourth on the Komets’ home ice. While these teams have seen each other often the first two and a half months of the year, this will be the last meeting between the Fuel and Komets until Feb. 27-28 in Fort Wayne. Every game the teams have played at the Fort has been close – two one-goal games and a two-goal game. In the last meeting, Robert Czarnik had Indy’s tally. Fort Wayne has the league’s best record, one fueled by a nearly-perfect record in one-goal games (12-0-1). The Komets have dropped two of three since the holiday break, splitting a home-and-home with Evansville (losing 6-4 on Friday, winning 5-1 on Saturday) and then falling 7-5 at home to their old UHL/CHL rivals from Quad City on Monday. Matthiew Pistilli (1 goal, 6 assists) had three multi-point games in a row. Drew Daniels (5 assists), Gabriel Beaupre (G, 3A), Shawn Szydlowski (3G, 2A) and Thomas Frazee (3G, 2A) all had big weeks. Old friend Mike Embach had a hat trick on Saturday night. Pat Nagle stopped 27 of 30 shots in two appearances. Roman Will was loaned to the Komets from Lake Erie on Monday and stopped 22 of 28 shots in taking the loss to Quad City. Fort Wayne’s PP clicked on 4-of-12 opportunities, but the PK allowed goals on 3-of-12. Szydlowski (18G, 16A) is third in the ECHL in scoring, and tied for the lead in goal scoring. Embach (10-20-30) is seventh. Daniels (+24) leads the league in +/-. Nagle (15-4-1, 2.37) is sixth in GAA and tied for first in wins. Eric Faille (13-14-27) is fourth in rookie scoring. Martin (6-18-24) is the ECHL’s top-scoring defenseman and tops in power play points (11). Fort Wayne is ninth in the ECHL on the PP (19.3) and 24th on the PK (79.5). At 3.86 GPG, Fort Wayne is fourth in the league in scoring. The Komets are the ECHL affiliates of the Colorado Avalanche.
Friday: vs. Toledo Walleye (19-5-3), 7:35 p.m., Indiana Farmers Coliseum. TV: HTSN-6.2, Radio: WXNT-1430
Season series: Fuel trail 0-1-0-0
Previous meetings: 12/20 at Indy: TOL 4-0.
This is the second of five meetings between these division rivals. The next meeting will be Jan. 10 in Toledo. The Fuel played a strong game against Toledo two weeks ago, but dropped a 4-0 decision largely due to the efforts of Toledo netminder Jeff Lerg, who stopped two breakaways and made some spectacular saves. The Walleye have played just two games since – beating Kalamazoo 4-1 the night after playing the Fuel, then falling to Kalamazoo 2-1 in the first of two outdoor games at the Toledo Mud Hens’ ballpark. In that game, Lerg stopped 27 of 29 shots, and Tyler Barnes had the Walleye goal, assisted by Shane Berschbach and Cody Lampl. Toledo has a busy week, heading to Brampton Dec. 30-31 for two games before coming to Indy on Friday. On Saturday, the Walleye will host Fort Wayne in another outdoor game. Toledo is led by Barnes (13-20-33) and Anthony Luciani (13-15-28). Former Indiana Ice player Kyle Bonis also has 13 goals. Barnes ranks fourth in the ECHL in scoring and leads rookies in points and assists. Joel Choiunard (3-14-17) ranks 12th among ECHL defensemen in scoring. Lerg has been very good in net (12-3-2, 2.54) and ranks 11th among active goalies in ECHL GAA, but backup Neil Conway has been equally impressive (3-0-1, 1.91). Toledo has the league’s top PP (26.5) and PK (89.2), and is second in the ECHL in scoring (4.15 goals per game). Toledo is 13-0-0 when leading after a period. The Walleye are the ECHL affiliates of the Detroit Red Wings.
Saturday: vs. Reading Royals (17-9-2), 7:35 p.m., Indiana Farmers Coliseum. TV: HTSN-6.2, Radio: WXNT-1430
Season series: Fuel trail 0-3-0
Previous meetings: Nov. 22 at Reading: REA 4-3; Nov. 23 at Reading: REA 2-1; Dec. 17 at Indy: REA 6-4
This is the fourth of eight meetings between the teams, with the next set for Jan. 30 in Indy. The Fuel have had three good games against Reading. In the most recent tilt, Indy held a 3-1 lead until the Royals scored two late goals in the second, and then tallied the go-ahead goal late in the third before two empty-netters sandwiched around an extra-attacker goal by Dillon Fournier sealed it. Kirill Gotovets has four goals against the Royals. Reading has won five straight games and eight of its last nine. Last week, the Royals swept Elmira 5-2 and 4-3. Pat Mullane had 2G/2A on the week. Matt Hatch had a goal and three assists. Olivier Labelle had a goal and two assists, and defenseman Jordan Heywood, as well as forward Cam Reid, each had a two-goal game. Labelle has a five-game assist streak going. Mullane (11-16-27) leads Reading. Hughesman (9-16-25), Reid (11-13-24), David Marshall (9-14-23) and Labelle (9-14-23) are the Royals’ top scorers. The Royals will be playing the same nights as the Fuel this week – Wednesday against Elmira and Friday at Evansville. Connor Knapp stopped 24-of-26 on Friday’s 5-2 win, and then was called up to the AHL, and Joe Howe stopped 25-of-28 to win Saturday’s game. Howe is 4-3-2/3.57 this season. Knapp is 9-4-2/2.73. Reading’s PP was 1-9, PK 4-5 on the week. Reading has been good in close games – 7-2-1 in games decided by one or two goals. The Royals get off a lot of shots (32.4, 4th in the ECHL) and are the legue’s sixth-highest scoring team (3.46). Reading is 18th on the PP (15.9) and eighth on the PK (83.8). The Royals are the ECHL affiliates of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Personnel moves: The Fuel made a couple of moves last week – activating Garrett Klotz from reserve, signing defenseman Sam Posa and placing defenseman Anders Franzon on reserve. Cody Reichard was returned from his loan to the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins and dressed in both games. Also, the team signed goaltender Sean Bonar – whose ECHL rights belonged to the Fuel – and dealt him to Orlando. Klotz played Friday’s game, tallying seven penalty minutes and a breakaway. Posa played both games and had several shot blocks on defense.
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)
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)
21 Johnny McGuire (6-1, 205, Peterborough, Ont.). Age: 21. Shoots: R. Last team: Idaho Steelheads (ECHL) (Fuel) F
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)
*88 (A) Garrett Klotz (6-6, 250, Regina, Sask.). Age: 25. Shoots: L. Last team: Allen Americans (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 Royals (ECHL) (Fuel)
15 Sam Posa (5-10, 176, Grand Blanc, Mich.). Age: 22. Shoots: L. Last team: University of Windsor (OUAA) (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)
35 Mac Carruth (6-2, 160, Jackson, Wyo.). Age: 22. Catches: L. Last team: Rockford IceHogs (AHL) (Blackhawks)
2 Anders Franzon (6-3, 196, Plattsburgh, NY). Age: 25. Shoots: R. Last team: Missouri Mavericks (CHL) (Fuel)
21-day IR (1)
8 Ildar Telyakov (6-9, 216, St. Petersburg, Russia). Age: 23. Shoots: L. Last team: St. Charles Chill (CHL) (Fuel) D
Suspended list (1)
Bobby Hughes (6-0, 185, Richmond Hill, Ont.). Age: 27. Shoots: L. Last team: Gwinnett Gladiators (ECHL) (Fuel) F