With the ECHL All-Star Game happening on Wednesday (check your local listings), it also signifies the unofficial midway point of the season– though some teams in the ECHL have already surpassed the 36 game mark. Regardless, it could be time to see how the only expansion team in the ECHL (not including the CHL absorption)– the Indy Fuel– stack up to the last expansion team in the ECHL– the Orlando Solar Bears.
In this comparison, I put together where the two teams were at after the 38-game mark and a couple of other things that some people may enjoy or want to know or whatever:
As you can see, the Solar Bears did have a slight edge record wise, but overall didn’t fair too, too much better than the Fuel have had. In the 2012-13 season, Orlando finished with 28-37-3-4 record, 5th in the South Division and 13th in the Eastern Division; 17 points out of a playoff spot.
Currently, the Fuel are currently 7th in the North Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference, however with a three-game winning streak and points in their last five games, it seems that Scott Hillman‘s crew could be turning a corner and learning how to play as a full unit. Especially with 14 rookies on their roster and trading leading scorer Robert Czarnik to Ontario; the Fuel have come around with the acquisitions of Vincent Arseneau, Garett Bembridge, Kyle Stroh, and goalie Shane Owen; the team’s identity could be finally forming into shape. Owen’s contribution will be seen more in the second-half of the season, as the goaltending for the Fuel has left much to be desired.
Though the new playoff format for the ECHL changing from the top-eight teams in the Conference to top-four teams in the Division could hamper the Fuel for this season– if they can get a break here and there, they could close and maybe eliminate the nine-point gap that currently is the buffer between them and 4th place.