Hard to believe there are only 9 games left – and only 3 more weekly previews – in the regular season. After a four-games-in-four-cities-in-five-nights stretch, the Fuel will be well-rested before hitting the home stretch at home – six of the next seven games will be at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. That will be key for a team making a playoff push. Currently, the Fuel sit just one point out of a potential playoff spot.
Record: 26-28-9, t5th ECHL North
Last week: The Fuel went 1-3-0 in four games, falling to Kalamazoo 5-3, Fort Wayne 4-1, South Carolina 4-0 and then beating Greenville 6-1 to cap the week. The first two games were close ones – Indy tied the K-Wings on Tuesday before two goals in less than a minute in the third period sealed the game for Kalamazoo. The Fuel trailed Fort Wayne 2-1 until late in the third when the Komets scored two quick insurance goals. on Saturday, they capped the week with one of their best performances of the season – the six goals tying a team mark for goals in a game, and the five-goal margin setting one for victory margin. … Garett Bembridge had a goal and four assists on the week to lead the Fuel. Kyle Stroh had two goals and two assists, including a 3-point game against Greenville. Bembridge also had three points against Greenville, all assists. Chris DeSousa added a goal and two assists. Mike Duco, Nick Jones and Peter Schneider all had a goal and an assist on the week, while Nick Bruneteau, Pete Massar, Nicklas Lindberg and Justin Holl all had two assists in the four-game week. … Shane Owen stopped 37 of 38 shots to get the win in net Saturday.
Fuel bits: The Fuel have one of the most potent power plays in the league, and two of the best playmakers on the PP – Nick Bruneteau leads all ECHL rookies with 14 PP assists, and teammate Pete Massar is second among league rookies with 13. Bruneteau’s 15 PP points are tied for the rookie lead, and his 14 PP assists are also fifth among ECHL defensemen. … As one might expect, the Fuel have one of the league’s top PP units, clicking at 20.2% to rank fourth in the ECHL. The Fuel rank 16th on the PK (82.0%). … Kyle Stroh joined Garett Bembridge as a 20-goal scorer last week, as he tallied his 20th and 21st against Greenville on Saturday. Stroh is 21-20-41 in 63 games overall, and 14-13-27 in 31 games with the Fuel. Bembridge leads the team with a 25-27-52 line overall and 23-23-46 in 53 games with the Fuel. … The newcomers have made a heck of an impression. Chris DeSousa (5-6-11) has 11 points in 12 games, while Peter Schneider had a goal and an assist in his second pro game. … Mike Duco (16-14-30) and Rhett Bly (11-19-30) hit the 30-point barrier last week, and Nick Bruneteau (3-32-35) hit the 35-point mark. Bruneteau is fifth among ECHL rookies in assists. He’s also 15th among defensemen in scoring. … Stroh remains tied for the league lead with eight game-winning goals, five of which have come with the Fuel. … Mac Carruth (14-13-5, 2.61) is 15th in the ECHL in GAA. His .911 save percentage puts him 14th. Shane Owen (7-4-2, 2.28 with Indy) would be among the league leaders counting only his games with the Fuel. … Quinn Sproule ranks 3rd in the ECHL in shooting percentage by a defenseman, with five goals on 37 shots (13.5%). … Indy is the ECHL’s sixth-least penalized team (14.32 PIM/game). … The Fuel are 21st in the league in scoring (2.75) and 18th in goals allowed (3.14). … The Fuel have been pretty good at playing with a lead – 12-2-3 when leading after one and 17-1-4 when leading after two. … The Fuel have played a league-high 18 OT games, and are 9-9 in games that go beyond 60 minutes – 5-4 in OT and 4-5 in shootouts.
This week’s schedule
Friday: vs. Reading Royals, 7:35 p.m., Indiana Farmers Coliseum (TV: HTSN-6.2, Radio: WXNT-1430)
Season series: Indy is 0-5-0 against Reading
The Royals come in pretty hot – 3-0-1 in the last four, beating Kalamazoo and going 2-0-1 last weekend in Brampton – and in the mix for the East Division title. They have outscored foes 22-10 in those four games. … The Royals are currently five points back of Florida for the division lead, and just three points ahead of surging South Carolina, who is in third. … The Fuel and Royals have become rather regular partners – this is the sixth of eight meetings between the teams, and the last of four at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. While all of the games have been decided by one goal – not counting empty-netters – Reading has won all five. The most recent meeting was a 3-2 Royals win Jan. 30 in Indy, in which Cam Reid had two goals for Reading, while Kyle Stroh and Vincent Arseneau scored for Indy. Reid and Arseneau are currently in the AHL. … The teams will meet again in the season’s final two games, April 11-12, at Reading. … Kevin Walrod has a goal in four straight games, the third-longest active streak in the league. … Olivier Labelle ranks 17th in the ECHL in scoring (25-36-61). He is one of five active 20-goal scorers on the Royals roster, joining Adam Hughesman (20-39-59), Pat Mullane (21-36-57), David Marshall (21-26-47) and Sean Wiles (23-19-42). Cam Reid (25-34-59) would be a sixth, but is currently in the AHL. … Bryant Molle is tied for the league lead with four shorthanded assists, and leads ECHL defensemen with four shorthanded points. … Sean Wiles and Pat Mullane are tied for second in the league with six shorthanded points. … Mike Marcou (6-28-34) ranks 17th among ECHL defensemen in scoring, and is tops among defensemen with 16 PP assists. … Goaltender Connor Knapp (22-8-4, 2.55) ranks 13th in the league in GAA. He shares the net with Martin Ouellette (15-8-2, 2.89). … Reading is the second-least penalized team in the ECHL (12.25 PIM/game). … The Royals are one of the league’s best teams, but they’re even better on the road than at home – going 21-6-4 away from Pennsylvania. … They’re also one of the league’s best finishing teams, with a +23 third-period goal differential, third-best in the ECHL. … Reading has the league’s seventh-best PP (19.6%) and 11th-best PK (83.4%), and ranks fifth in the league with 10 shorthanded goals. … Reading is one of the top offensive teams in the league, ranking fourth in scoring (3.71 G/game) but also eighth in goals allowed (2.89/game), giving the Royals a +.82 goal differential. … Reading will host the Florida Everblades on Wednesday before heading west to face Indy and Wheeling this weekend. … Reading is the ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Saturday: vs. South Carolina Stingrays, 7:35 p.m., Indiana Farmers Coliseum (TV: HTSN-6.2, Radio: WXNT-1430):
Season series: Indy is 1-1-0 against South Carolina
South Carolina is the hottest team in ECHL history, having won 21 straight games, including 11 straight road games, both of which are league records. … The last loss was a 4-0 defeat on Jan. 30 at Orlando. In the streak, the Stingrays have outscored teams 91-31, an average of 4.3-1.5/game. They have beaten Gwinnett eight times, Greenville five times, Orlando three times, Florida twice, and Indy, Cincinnati and Evansville once each in the streak. … Last week, the Stingrays beat Indy 4-0. Brett Cameron had two goals and Jeff Jakaitis made 35 saves for the shutout. Indy beat South Carolina 2-1 in a shootout on Jan. 20. … The Stingrays have the league’s top two goaltenders in GAA, and who rank second and third in save percentage – Bruins signee Adam Morrison (15-5-2, 1.88, .928sv%) and Jeff Jakaitis (22-7-2, 1.96, .925sv%). Jakaitis is also fifth in the league in save percentage. He had an ECHL-record shutout streak of 321:46 snapped on Saturday by Cincinnati a night after recording a fourth straight shutout against the Fuel on Friday. Jakaitis has also won 13 straight starts, tying him with Daniel Berthiaume for a 20-year-old ECHL record. He also leads the league with six shutouts. Morrison is tied for second with four. … As one might expect, the Stingrays lead the league in goals against (2.31) and shots against (26.2) and are among the league’s top teams in goal differential (+0.82). … Andrew Rowe has 11 assists in his last seven games, and the seven-game assist streak is the longest active one in the league. Lee Moffie’s five-game assist streak is third-longest in the ECHL. … Derek DeBlois (15-22-37) is tied for 17th among ECHL rookies in scoring. … Like Friday’s opponent, South Carolina has a better record away from home than at home – 20-7-2 away from the North Charleston Coliseum. … SC ranks 20th on the PP (16.0%) and second on the PK (88.1%). … The Stingrays get off to good starts, as their +15 first-period goal differential is fifth in the league. The Stingrays are +21 in the second period, also fifth in the league. And once they get ahead, they usually stay that way, going 20-2-3 when leading after one and 29-1-4 when leading after two. … SC has two games on this Midwestern road swing before heading to Indy – they are at Cincinnati on Wednesday and at Toledo on Friday. … This is the last of three games between the Fuel and Stingrays, and South Carolina’s only visit to Indy this season. … South Carolina is the ECHL affiliate of the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals.
Roster moves: Peter Schneider was signed to an amateur tryout agreement last week after finishing his college career at Notre Dame. The former Indiana Ice player had a goal and an assist in his second game. On Monday, veteran forward Garrett Klotz was waived. He was claimed by Wichita on Tuesday. Wednesday update: the AHL’s Worcester Sharks assigned LW Vincent Arseneau to the Allen Americans. Arseneau played for the Fuel on loan from AHL Manchester until the Monarchs traded him to Worcester. Allen is the Sharks’ ECHL farm team, although Worcester has assigned one player (Nick Jones) to the Fuel.
Current unofficial roster
7 Peter Schneider (5-11, 185, Vienna, Austria). Age: 23. Shoots: R. Last team: Notre Dame (NCAA) (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)
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)
15 Saverio Posa (5-10, 176, Grand Blanc, Mich.). Age: 22. Shoots: L. Last team: University of Windsor (CIS) (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)
6 Quinn Sproule (5-11, 190, Hussar, Alb.). Age: 27. Shoots: L. Last team: Alaska Aces (ECHL) (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)
Looking ahead: The Fuel return to the ice on April Fool’s Day with a home game against Toledo. They’ll then travel to Cincinnati April 3 before returning home April 4-5 for home games against Fort Wayne and Elmira.