Teams in the ECHL change all the time, luckily for the Indy Fuel, the changes that did come were all for the better. They had their first full-time assistant coach, and most importantly, made it to the Kelly Cup playoffs. As a fan of the Indy Fuel, this season may have started out slow, but it picked up to give all ECHL fans an underdog to cheer for. Let’s break down last season for the Indy Fuel.
First, you had the permanent addition of Ryan McGinnis. He is the first full-time assistant coach in Fuel history. Between he and head coach, Bernie John, they started the team from scratch, only having six of the 18 players from last season back on the roster. A big change to the roster was the addition of Ryan Rupert and Cam Reid. These two, in addition to the veterans from last year, would make a big difference to the Fuel.
Ice hockey is an exciting sport. pic.twitter.com/ztD1POkvJi
— Indy Fuel (@IndyFuel) August 28, 2018
Starting the Season
The Fuel was off to a slow start in the season by going 2-2-2 with five of their opening six games on the road. The Fuel then had a seven-game winless streak which dropped them down to the bottom of the standings. Luckily, this streak was snapped with two home games. The team has done wonderful things at home, but they consistently struggled on road ice with a 1-8-2-1 record in their first 12 road games of the season.
Darian Dziurzynski was acquired by the Fuel around the holidays as an attempt to up their offensive presence. This plan paid off with huge success since Dziurzynski was averaging almost a point per game. He and fellow forward Johnny McInnis, who was picked up around the same time, were the missing pieces to the Fuel offense. With their help, the Fuel started rising in the standings. Indy picked up points in 12 of their last 14 games, which they thought would give them the final push they needed to make it to the playoffs. Unfortunately for them, they were neck and neck with Kalamazoo and had a play in game for the last playoff spot. Indy took an early 2-0 lead while goaltender Etienne Marcoux stood on his head during the game.
— Indy Fuel (@IndyFuel) September 18, 2018
The Fuel put up a fair fight against the Toledo Walleye, but could not get a single win. The first two games ended with a goal differential of one. Every game was a close one with the last game of the series going into double overtime. Through all of their efforts, there just was not enough power to overpower the Walleye. Indy has had their most successful season since their creation four years ago and they only have room to grow for this season.