Tonight, anyway, the Komets’ power play was up to the challenge. So was goaltender Zach Fucale.
The Komets scored on 2 of 5 opportunities with the man-advantage. Fucale turned away 27 of 29 shots against his former team, including a breakaway by Ryan Scarfo that could have tied it midway through the third period.
And the Komets defeated the Colin Chaulk-coached Brampton Beast 3-2 in front of 7,865 fans at Memorial Coliseum.
(Video highlights are above.)
It was the Bob Chase Memorial Thanksgiving Game, in honor of the beloved broadcaster, who called games for WOWO for 63 seasons before his death on Thanksgiving in 2016.
The Komets sold special Chase bobbleheads – 100 percent of the proceeds benefited WOWO’s charitable Penny Pitch drive – and members of Chase’s family were on hand at the game.
It was also the first time that Brampton’s Jackson Leef, a native of Fort Wayne and the son of former Komets forward Ron Leef, got to play at the Coliseum as a professional. Ron Leef is a member of the Komets’ Hall of Fame.
The scoreless first period was a show by the goaltenders – Brampton’s Etienne Marcoux turned away 15 shots and Fucale seven – but it took only 18 seconds of the second period for the Komets to net a goal. Fort Wayne’s Ryan Lowney stole the puck along the blue line from Jackson Leef and sent a pass to J.C. Campagna, who snapped a 30-foot shot past Marcoux.
The Beast tied it 4:42 later, when Daniel Ciampini’s slapshot from the left circle was deemed to have slipped just inside the far goalpost by referee Cameron Fleming.
But the Komets’ power play, which came into the night ranked only 15th among the ECHL’s 27 teams with an efficiency of 15.7 percent, then took control. Jake Kamrass skated from center ice, circumventing the entire Brampton defense, and wristed the puck high on Marcoux at 8:52.
And Justin Hodgman made it 3-1 by redirecting a shot at 10:29 from Shawn Szydlowski, who played his first game at the Coliseum since returning from Norway.
The Beast’s Jordan Henry scored from the slot 7:27 into the third period – he was set up by former Fort Wayne star Brandon Marino – and Fucale foiled Scarfo on a breakaway at 10:02 to keep the Komets’ lead at 3-2.
Marcoux stopped 36 of 39 shots.
Brampton was 0 for 4 on power plays.
Notes: Phelix Martineau, who had five goals and 10 points in 10 games with the Komets this season, was recalled by Laval of the American Hockey League. … Fort Wayne’s Marco Roy missed a fourth straight game with a concussion suffered on a hit from Rapid City’s Adam Marsh. … The Komets also played without Aidan Muir, Chase Stewart and goalie Kyle Hayton. … Brampton, coached by former Komets captain Colin Chaulk, has former Fort Wayne player Artur Tianulin, who last season was going by Artur Tyanulin. However, he was not in the lineup.