Elmira Jackals Host Indy Fuel For First Time

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The Elmira Jackals will play host to the Indy Fuel for a pair of games this weekend in ECHL action, marking Indy’s first-ever trip to Elmira since the Fuel joined the ECHL this season. The teams previously met in Indy in January.

Heading into this weekend, the Elmira Jackals, farm club of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres and AHL’s Rochester Americans, have an 11-point lead over the Fuel with one game in hand.

The Jackals (26-19-0-5) are seventh in the Eastern Conference; the Fuel (19-23-4-3) sit at 12th, ahead of Gwinnett and Evansville.

The Fuel are the ECHL affiliates of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks and AHL’s Rockford IceHogs. The Fuel head into this weekend coming off a pair of games against Cincinnati. They defeated the Cyclones 3-2 in overtime last Friday before falling 4-1 on Saturday.

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For the Elmira Jackals, defenseman Steven Shamanski continues to lead the team with 28 points (11-17) in 48 games. He recently returned from a stint with the AHL’s Springfield Falcons.

Shamanski is 13th in the league in defensive scoring, fourth in goals and tied for third in power play goals.

The Jackals also recently received defenseman Nick Tuzzolino back from a stint with the AHL’s Binghamton Senators. Both Justin Kea and Allan McPherson were called up to the Rochester Americans, farm club of the Buffalo Sabres.

Other players to watch for the Elmira Jackals include forward Taylor Stefishen (27 pts — 38 gp), Mike Seidl (27 pts, 36 gp) and Ryan Rashid (25 pts, 45 gp).

Finally, goaltender Sam Marotta is 10th in the ECHL with a 2.52 GAA in 25 games played. He also has a 0.913 save percentage.

For the Indy Fuel, keep an eye on forward Gareett Bembridge, who leads the team with 36 points (18-18) in 46 games.

Forward Kyle Stroh has 32 points (16-16) in 50 games, and defenseman Nick Bruneteau has registered 26 points, including a team-high 23 assists, in 43 games. Bruneteau is fourth in rookie assists in the ECHL.

Goaltender Mac Carruth is just above Marotta in the goaltending stats line, with a 2.50 GAA and the same .913 save percentage.

Statistically, these teams match up pretty closely. The numbers are as follows (Elmira/Indy):

  • Average Goals For: 2.7 / 2.6
  • Average Goals Against (biggest discrepancy): 2.9 / 3.2
  • Average Shots For: 29.2 / 28.0
  • Average Shots Against: 29.8 / 29.7
  • Power Play Percentage: 19.1 / 19.4

One stat line where the Elmira Jackals stand out from the rest of the ECHL: they’re the only team in the league who hasn’t allowed a shorthanded goal against this season.

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The Fuel head into this weekend’s games coming in hot. They’ve won 14 of their last 16 games dating back to January 6. Last Saturday’s loss marked the end of a five-game winning streak, and the Fuel will look to start up another streak this weekend against the Jackals.

A key for the Jackals tonight will be to get a good start early. Elmira is 14-2-0-3 when leading after the first period, while the Fuel are 3-15-1-1 when trailing after 20 minutes.

The Elmira Jackals and the Indy Fuel face off Friday and Saturday, with puck drop set for 7:05 p.m. both nights. Saturday’s game is “Pucks & Paws Night” at First Arena. Tickets start at $14 and can be purchased online here.