Work and family obligations have caused me to have to not do the last few of these, but that shouldn’t be an issue for the last 5 weeks of the regular season.
Record: 24-25-8 (5th ECHL North)
Last week: The Fuel started out well – scoring four goals in the first period of an eventual 5-4 SOW over Evansville on Friday. That was followed with a 4-3 loss to Wheeling on Saturday and a 5-3 loss to Kalamazoo on Sunday, both games in which the Fuel rallied from third-period deficits. … Nine different players got on the scoresheet in Friday’s game. … Garett Bembridge scored four goals over the last two games of the weekend, giving him 24 for the season. Nicklas Lindberg had four assists on the weekend. Chris DeSousa had a goal and two assists. Nick Bruneteau, Pete Massar, Jamie Wise and Garrett Klotz each had two assists on the weekend. Mike Duco, Matt White and Justin Holl each had a goal and an assist. … Friday’s win put the Fuel over .500 for the first time this season. … Shane Owen had a 41-save performance in the win Friday night at Evansville … Indy remains two points back of a playoff spot, and three points back of third place.
Fuel bits: The Fuel lost back-to-back games in regulation for the first time since Jan. 9-10 – a stretch of 22 games that saw the Fuel go 18-2-2. Indy also had a 14-game (12-0-2) road point streak snapped Sunday in Kalamazoo. The 14-game streak is the longest in the ECHL this season. … Garett Bembridge became the first player to score his 20th goal in a Fuel sweater when he tallied his second goal on Saturday. He is 24-21-45 for the year, and 22-17-39 in 47 games with the Fuel. … Kyle Stroh (18-17-35 overall, 11-10-21 in 25 games with the Fuel) is the team’s second-leading scorer. … Mike Duco (15-13-28) and Rhett Bly (10-17-27) are also double-digit goal scorers. … Kyle Stroh continues to lead the ECHL with eight game-winning goals – including seven with the Fuel. … Indy played its 17th OT game on Friday, a league-high. The Fuel are 9-8 in games that go beyond 60 minutes – going 5-4 in OT and 4-4 in SO. … Nicklas Lindberg’s six-game scoring streak is the third-longest active streak in the league. … Mac Carruth is 14th in the ECHL in GAA (2.56) and 12th in save percentage (.914). Shane Owen’s .930 save percentage in a Fuel uniform would put him in the top three in the league. … Pete Massar (13) and Nick Bruneteau (12) are 1-2 in the ECHL in power play assists for rookies … Nick Bruneteau is tied for 20th among rookies with 32 points, and is fourth with 29 assists among ECHL rookies. Bruneteau is 13th among all ECHL defensemen in points, fifth in assists and fourth in PP assists. … The Fuel played two penalty-filled games this weekend, but still rank 21st in the 28-team league in PIM (14.61/game). … The Fuel PP is up to 5th in the ECHL (20.1), and the PK is 16th (82.6). … Indy is 21st in the league at 2.75 goals/game, and 18th in GA at 3.16 allowed/game.
This week’s games
Friday: vs. Evansville IceMen (14-35-8), 7:35 p.m., Indiana Farmers Coliseum. TV: HTSN-6.2, Radio: WXNT-1430
Season series: Fuel lead 7-1-1
This is the 10th and final meeting between the Fuel and IceMen this season. The Fuel have dominated the season series, winning seven of the nine meetings. They’ve had four meetings go to OT/SO, with the Fuel winning three. … Evansville snapped a five-game skid on Sunday with a 2-1 win over Wheeling. The same teams play Tuesday night. Thomas Frazee and Justin MacDonald had Evansville’s goals, and Branden Komm stopped 40 shots. … In last week’s game, Peter Sakaris had two goals to lead Evansville. Branden Komm allowed all four Indy goals in the first period, before Chris Driedger kept the Fuel scoreless the rest of the way. Shane Owen stopped 41 shots in the Fuel net. Mike Duco had a goal and an assist for the Fuel, while Nick Jones, Kyle Stroh and Matt White also scored goals for Indy. … Recently-acquired Braden Pimm (20-18-38) leads the IceMen in scoring. He has two goals and an assist in five games in Evansville. Robin Soudek (17-15-32 overall, 7-4-11 in 18 games w/EVV) and Thomas Frazee (15-16-31 overall, 3-7-10 in 16 games w/EVV) are the IceMen’s other scoring leaders, noting some substantial roster movement since Al Sims became coach at midseason. … Driedger (8-25-4, 3.70) sees the majority of time in the IceMen net. He got a callup to the Ottawa Senators earlier this year. … Evansville’s -27 goal differential in the first period is tied with Brampton for the league’s worst.
Saturday: at Toledo Walleye (32-16-5), 7:15 p.m., Huntington Bank Arena. Radio: WXNT-1430
Season series: Fuel trail 0-3-0
This is the second-to-last meeting between these two teams this season. They play again April 1 at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Indy played one of its best games of the year to that point against the Walleye in their last meeting Jan. 10, falling 4-2 in a late Toledo rally. … Tyler Barnes (20-35-55) is the league’s top-scoring rookie. He ranks 18th overall in scoring and is the Walleye’s leading scorer. Old friend Shane Berschbach (13-30-43) is sixth among rookies. They rank first and third among rookies in assists. Barnes is fifth in rookie goals. … Another old friend, Kyle Bonis (27-15-42) leads the Walleye in goals scored. Martin Frk (23-15-38) is the team’s third 20-goal scorer … Goaltender Jeff Lerg (24-7-2, 2.45) is sixth in the ECHL in GAA, but was called up to AHL Grand Rapids this week with Jonas Gustavsson on the parent Detroit Red Wings suffering an injury on Sunday. If he’s still in GR, Neil Conway (7-4-3, 2.10) is the Walleye’s backup. … Anthony Luciani’s eight-game assist and point streaks are the longest active streaks in the ECHL, but he was dealt to Gwinnett earlier this week. … Toledo is 25-1-0 when leading after one, and 26-1-1 when leading after two. … Toledo ranks second in the ECHL in scoring (4.06) and fourth in goals allowed (2.63). … Toledo’s +30 goal differential in the first period is second only to Idaho (+40). The +22 second-period differential is third in the league, and the +25 differential in the third leads the league. The overall +77 leads the league. … Toledo has the league’s best special teams, leading the ECHL in both PP (23.5) and PK (88.5). … Toledo is 17-5-4 at home. … The Walleye are the league’s least-penalized team (11.07 PIM/game). … Toledo went 2-1 last weekend, beating Elmira 5-3 before splitting two games with Reading, winning 5-3 on Saturday before falling 3-2 on Sunday. … Toledo also plays Orlando (Wednesday) and at Fort Wayne (Friday) before facing the Fuel.
Roster moves: The Fuel moved several players on and off reserve last week, but the two major moves saw Jamie Wise join the team on loan from Rockford, and Vincent Arseneau leave the team, as he was traded by the Manchester Monarchs – to whom Arseneau is contracted – to the AHL’s Worcester Sharks.
Looking ahead: Next week, the Fuel have a busy one – a St. Patrick’s Day trip to Kalamazoo is followed by a Wednesday, March 18 home game with Fort Wayne, before a quick road trip to face Greenville and South Carolina over the weekend. After that trip, the Fuel will play six of their final nine games at home.
Current Fuel roster (unofficial)
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)
11 Kyle Stroh (6-1, 185, Vibank, Sask.). Age: 26. Shoots: R. Last team: Rapid City Rush (ECHL) (Fuel)
12 Evan Vossen (6-0, 196, Swift Current, Sask.). Age: 28. Shoots: L. Last team: Missouri Mavericks (ECHL) (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: L. Last team: Rockford IceHogs (AHL) (Rockford)
*19 Nicklas Lindberg (5-11, 190, Stockholm, Sweden). Age: 34. Shoots: L. Last team: St. Charles Chill (CHL) (Fuel)
20 Matt White (6-2, 198, McMurray, Pa.). Age: 23. Shoots: L. Last team: Vermont (NCAA) (Fuel)
28 Chris DeSousa (5-9, 190, Mississauga, Ont.). Age: 24. Shoots: L. Last team: Univ. of Prince Edward Island (CIS) (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)
2 Anders Franzon (6-3, 196, Plattsburgh, NY). Age: 26. 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)
5 Nick Jones (6-2, 200, Cranberry, Pa.). Age: 24. Shoots: R. Last team: Worcester Sharks (AHL) (Worcester)
10 Dan Ford (6-1, 195, Skaneateles, NY). Age: 24. Shoots: L. Last team: Reading Royals (ECHL) (Fuel)
25 Justin Holl (6-3, 195, Tonka Bay, Minn.). Age: 23. Shoots: R. Last team: Minnesota (NCAA) (Rockford)
35 Mac Carruth (6-2, 160, Jackson, Wyo.). Age: 22. Catches: L. Last team: Rockford IceHogs (AHL) (Blackhawks)
50 Shane Owen (6-2, 195, Markham, Ont.). Age: 24. Catches: L. Last team: Stockton Thunder (ECHL) (Fuel)
15 Saverio Posa (5-10, 176, Grand Blanc, Mich.). Age: 22. Shoots: L. Last team: University of Windsor (CIS) (Fuel)
21 Johnny McGuire (6-1, 205, Peterborough, Ont.). Age: 21. Shoots: R. Last team: Idaho Steelheads (ECHL) (Fuel)
21-day IR (1)
57 Jonathan Parker (5-10, 195, Solana Beach, Calif.). Age: 23. Shoots: R. Last team: Colorado Eagles (ECHL) (Fuel)
In AHL: Dillon Fournier (Rockford), Kirill Gotovets (Rockford)