The Indy Fuel split a two-game series against the Rapid City Rush over the weekend.
Matt Marcinew returns to the Fuel
On Jan 2, the Fuel announced that forward Matt Marcinew had returned to Indy following his professional tryout contract with the AHL Tucson Roadrunners. Marcinew had appeared in nine games with the Fuel, tallying five goals and seven assists. He also netted two ECHL Player of the Week awards during his prior stint with Indy.
Matt Thompson assigned to Indy
Matt Thompson has been assigned to Indy from the Rockford IceHogs prior to the start of the IceHogs’ season. Thompson split time between Indy and Rockford last season. He currently has 99 ECHL games under this belt and skated in 27 games with the Fuel last season.
Defenseman Cliff Watson named team captain
Cliff Watson will serve as the Fuel’s new captain this season. It the fifth captain named in Fuel history. Forward David Broll and defenseman Scott Savage will be alternate captains on the road and forwards Joe Sullivan and Nic Pierog will be alternate captains at home.
Watson was acquired by the Fuel last season in a trade with Kansas City. He appeared in 53 games between Indy and Kansas City last season.
Friday, Feb. 5 — Fuel 0, Rapid City 2
In their first of two meetings, the Fuel were manhandled by a physical Rapid City team. The first period would be slanted toward Indy in terms of shots, but Rapid City had the advantage on the scoreboard. Rush defenseman Butrus Ghafari wired a wrister past Indy goaltender Billy Christopoulos for the one-goal lead.
In the second period, Rapid City forward Peter Quenneville smashed a rebound home on Christopoulos to extend the gap to two goals. Indy had a chance to get back into the game with a 5-on-3 power play midway through the period, however, the Fuel never got going offensively and did not put shots on net. The second period ended with the Fuel trailing 2–0.
In the third period, Indy and Rapid city traded 5-on-3 opportunities with neither team scoring. After desperately trying to get on the score sheet, the Fuel fell to Rapid City. It was the first time the Fuel have been shut out this season.
Saturday, Feb. 6 — Fuel 6, Rapid City 3
In their second matchup, the Fuel needed a third-period rally to seal their victory.
In the first period, after failing to score on multiple chances, Indy fell behind Rapid City. Rush forward Avery Peterson flicked a wrister past Fuel goalie Dan Bakala for the one-goal advantage. The Rush lead was short-lived, as Indy’s Nick Hutichson buried a Peter Krieger feed for the game-tying goal. The first period ended with the score knotted at 1–1.
In the second period, the Fuel regained the lead, as Krieger streaked down the ice and beat Rush goalie David Tendeck. Indy increased its lead when Thompson scored his first goal of the season. With a 3–1 lead, the Fuel appeared to have things in hand; that was until Avery Peterson slapped his second goal of the game past Bakala. With the Fuel nursing a one-goal lead, the Rush’s Tyler Coulter snapped a wrister past Bakala to tie the game at 3–3 late in the second period.
In the third period the with the score tied, Pierog fired a shot that deflected past Tendeck for a 4–3 Indy lead. Later in the period, Watson seized the opportunity on an odd-man rush and fed Micheal McNicholas. McNicholas one-timed the puck past Tendeck for the Fuel’s fifth goal of the game. Pierog added the chef’s kiss with the Fuel’s sixth goal of the game and seal the Indy victory.
The Fuel sit atop the ECHL standings with a record of 13–2–1. Please stay tuned to The Rink for all your Fuel and ECHL news.