INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Coach Bernie John continues to make strong moves to build a team that can compete for a playoff spot in 2017-18. The team has missed the playoffs in each of its three years of existence. Obviously, to keep the fan base and continue to bring in top players, you need to make the playoffs consistently. Bernie John is building a strong, all-around team that will compete in the ECHL this season. Over the last two weeks, John has brought in forwards Cam Reid, Connor Reilly, and Geoff Walker as well as defensemen Nolan Descoteaux. These players, if the chemistry is there, will produce in Indianapolis.
Reid comes to Indy with five years of professional experience, spanning the AHL, ECHL, Central Hockey League (CHL) and Germany (DEL2). The British Columbia native split last season between Germany and the Utah Grizzlies. While playing in Germany, Reid tallied four goals and six assists in 20 games. Midway through the season, Reid made the move to Utah, where he earned eight goals and 21 assists in 36 games.
Defenseman Nolan Descoteaux played 60 games for the Alaska Aces last season, putting up solid offensive numbers. The 6’1” defenseman tallied 10 goals and 20 assists for the Aces last season, leading all Aces defensemen in goal scoring. If the point production continues, Descoteaux is an excellent signing for the Fuel. An all around offensive defenseman could be very helpful in point production as well as keeping the puck out of the net, which was a major issue for the Fuel last season.
After four as a Minnesota Golden Gopher, Connor Reilly will make his pro debut in an Indy Fuel uniform. The Chanhassen, Minnesota native served as an alternate captain during his final two seasons, helping the team win two of four consecutive Big Ten regular season championships.
Geoff Walker is a great, offensive addition to the Fuel roster. The Charlottetown, PE native brings nine years of professional experience to Indianapolis spanning from the American Hockey League to Europe. Walker spent last season in Europe, starting the season with HC Fassa in the AlpsHL, where he scored 21 goals and 35 assists in 33 games before moving to the Sheffield Steelers in the EIHL. Walker is nearly a point-per-game player at the ECHL level. In 165 games he has earned 129 points (53g, 76a) spanning between the Reading Royals, Missouri Mavericks, Ontario Reign and Florida Everblades.
The Fuel continues to build an all around team to compete in the ECHL. A two-way team was a major problem last season. Consistency was a problem as well. The team couldn’t string together multiple wins because the defensive zone coverage broke down causing the goaltenders to have to stop upwards of 50 shots per game.
With the team that John has built so far, fans should be confident that their Indy Fuel will compete for a playoff spot this season. Goal scoring shouldn’t be an issue for the Fuel, that’s for sure. The only worry the Fuel should have is that the offensive-defensemen get caught in the offensive zone, causing odd man rushes. Regardless, the Fuel should be in the mix for a playoff berth at the end of the season.
Fuel 2017-18 Roster-to-Date:
- Nick Bligh (6’0, 185) Age: 24 Shoots: R
- Matt Rupert (5’8, 175) Age: 23 Shoots: L
- Ryan Rupert (5’8, 173) Age: 23 Shoots: L
- Andrew Schmit (6’5, 220) Age: 25 Shoots: R
- Matt Johnson (6’1, 209) Age: 26 Shoots: L
- Cam Reid (6’2, 187) Age: 25. Shoots L
- Connor Reilly (6’0, 180) Age: 25. Shoots: L
- Chris Williams (6’2, 220) Age: 26 Shoots: R
- Anthony Cortese (5’10, 180) Age: 23 Shoots: R
- Nolan Descoteaux (6’1, 205) Age: 27. Shoots: L
Likely Rockford Loans
- Tommy Olczyk, Forward, (5’10, 190) Age: 26 Shoots: L
- Matt Tomkins, Goaltender, (6’3, 194) Age: 23 Catches: L