The Journal Gazette
Friday, November 23, 2018 11:40 pm

Hodgman leads K's to quick start, victory

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Just a week after they bemoaned their inability to get off to good starts, the Komets have put together back-to-back victories in games in which scoring first paid off.

They defeated the Kalamazoo Wings 4-2 on Friday night, thanks to opening the game with the first four goals.

Justin Hodgman had one goal and two assists, as he continued his torrid start to the season; he has six goals and 23 points in 15 games for the Komets (7-8-0).

The Komets dominated the first period, netting three goals on their first 10 shots and getting terrific goaltending from Lukas Hafner at the other end.

Justin Kea opened the scoring by snapping a high 40-foot shot at 9:30, after Alexander Kuqali set him up with a crossing pass.

J.C. Campagna made made it a two-goal lead at 11:19 by sending a no-look shot at the net, just after Hodgman won a faceoff back to him at Wings Event Center.

Hodgman got another assist at 15:48, when his shot from 30 feet out was redirected by Jake Kamrass for a 3-0 Fort Wayne lead in front of 2,315 fans, including several hundred who had made the trip from the Summit City.

The only goal of the second period was scored by Hodgman, who finished off a tic-tac-toe passing play from Campagna and Kamrass at 12:07 for a 4-0 lead.

Hafner’s bid for a shutout was ended by Chad McDonald 1:57 into the third period, during a Kalamazoo power play.

Kalamazoo’s Kyle Thomas, a former Fort Wayne player, netted the game’s final goal at 17:36, also during a Wings power play.

Fort Wayne came into the night with the ECHL’s top-rated penalty killing unit (89.4 percent efficiency) and Kalamazoo the league’s worst power play (10.5 percent), however, Kalamazoo scored on 2 of 4 power plays.

Hafner stopped 34 shots for the Komets. Ivan Kulbakov stopped 20 for the Wings (4-9-1).

Fort Wayne, which plays host to the Cincinnati Cyclones at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Memorial Coliseum, didn’t get a single opportunity with the man-advantage from referee Alexander Ross.

Notes: The Komets re-signed forward Joseph Widmar, who had played two games earlier this season with the team and 11 games last season. He had one goal and 10 points in six games with Peoria of the lower-level Southern Professional Hockey League this season.

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