Indy Fuel is a promising franchise


It’s hard for me to contain my excitement regarding the upcoming 2015-2016 Indy Fuel hockey season. Last year was the team’s first as an organization. But, they managed to turn a kid who barely had an elementary understanding of the sport into a “Fuel fanatic,” and I think the potential is there for them to be a much better team than they were last year.

When the team known as the Indy Fuel was officially announced in late November of 2013, I was oblivious to not only the team, but also to the sport of hockey. I wouldn’t find out about the Fuel until August of 2014, a few months before the team would later embark on their first season as a franchise.

It was then that I started researching the sport and actually following news about the Fuel, which over the course of two months managed to get me heavily interested in hockey. This lead me towards going to the Fuel’s last pre-season game (the first hockey game I had ever been to) and eventually to their first ever regular season home game.

I usually don’t like hyping things up this much, but that opening game on Oct. 17, 2014 really changed me. The atmosphere was incredible. I was in awe from the sea of black and white Fuel jerseys in the crowd and all the fans going crazy waving their rally towels in support of their team. Taking into account that the Fuel had only played three games total as a team before that night (all of them in the pre-season), seeing so many people in the sellout crowd with various Fuel apparel on already was crazy to me. Never have I experienced a sporting event like that one.

The Fuel lost a hard fought game that night 5-4 to their rival, the Fort Wayne Komets, in a disappointing fashion. With a 3-0 lead going into the third and final period, goaltender Mac Carruth blundered and let in four straight unanswered goals. With just a minute left in regulation, Patrick Cullen netted a goal for the Fuel forcing overtime and later a shootout. After an exciting game, the Fuel couldn’t match the Komets in the end.

They may have lost that game, but they won over a fan that would go on to follow them through what was at first a tough season. The Fuel had a measly record of eight wins, 21 losses and seven combined overtime losses at the halfway mark of the 72 game season. However, after a few trades, the Fuel started winning games all of the sudden. Not just a few games though, but a whole lot of them.

The Fuel finished their inaugural season with a 31-30-11 record, going 23-9-4 in the second half of the season. After what was an emotional, thrilling playoff push, the Fuel unfortunately missed out on the post-season by a small margin. That doesn’t take away from the incredible effort the team made.

The Fuel also experienced a few firsts during that incredible stretch. They recorded their first ever shutout game, meaning that no goals were scored against them, with goaltender Shane Owen at net on Jan. 11, 2015. That game was also the team’s first ever road win. The Fuel also had its first ever hat trick, or three-goal night from a single player, recorded by forward Kyle Stroh. Both of these players had been acquired in trades around the midway point of the season.

When I look at how the Fuel’s roster is shaping up for next year’s season, I see nothing but promise. If they can play like they did during the second half of the season last year for the whole season, then there is no way they won’t make the playoffs this year. With a solid head coach, core players from last year coming back for a second season, and some nice signings here and there this offseason, this is really starting to look like a special year for the Fuel.

After going to multiple games throughout last year’s season and meeting tons of kind fans through the official Facebook fan page for the Fuel called the “Indy Fuel Fanatics,” this is truly the most attached I’ve ever been to a team. I can guarantee that this will be another year not only of exhilarating hockey, but also of great family fun at the hands of the Indy Fuel organization.