There was a lot of good Thursday night for the Komets in their 3-2 victory over the Brampton Beast in the Bob Chase Memorial Thanksgiving Game.
The power play: 2 for 5, including a Jake Kamrass beauty in which he went through the entire defense and a Justin Hodgman redirection.
The resiliency: Top notch in the wake of some suspect officiating from Cameron Fleming, who undoubtedly missed a penalty shot in the third period when Kamrass was hooked in the face from behind by Jordan Henry, and probably missed one in the second when Anthony Petruzzelli was hooked from behind (and Petruzzelli wound up with an interference penalty). And since Etienne Marcoux was, as usual, very good with 36 saves, the Komets had to keep at it in the offensive end.
And, of course, the goaltending: Zach Fucale had perhaps his best game of the season with 27 saves and that included a stop of a Ryan Scarfo breakaway midway through the third period that might have tied it in front of 7,865 fans at Memorial Coliseum.
“That one really feels good,” Fucale said. “I feel like I wasn’t contributing as much as I wanted to. I’ll be straight up with you, I’ll be honest, I don’t feel like I was contributing as much as I could. There was one game I was really mad about. At the end of the day, I thought I was doing some good actions and I knew it would turn around. Tonight was a good example of just sticking to my game instead of just changing it, you know what I’m saying? I trusted my game and that’s why I felt good in the last one and today. I feel like I can just build off that.
“It was a great team win. It’s one win. I can’t get too satisfied. I want to get some more here and I want to help the team.”
This game had to be a confidence-booster for Fucale, the only player the Komets have gotten from the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights.
“It’s big for him to come back and get into the net (like this). He had a good start to the season and we haven’t been very good in front of him in some of his starts,” Komets coach Gary Graham said. “Tonight, I thought the boys blocked a lot of shots and battled, competed in front of the net, and he came up with the big saves when we needed them.”
I can tell you I hadn’t seen any finger-pointing within the locker room at Fucale for the Komets’ lukewarm start, even as some fans had gotten antsy with his struggles coming in to Thursday.
“When you’ve been going through what we’ve been going through, everybody’s confidence a little bit has been 50-50, a little shaky at times,” Graham said. “Everybody’s hearts are in the right place. The guys have been practicing hard and working hard, but it’s just that sometimes you go through these things. We’ve been going through it. Tonight, for the most part, I thought we played 60 minutes.”
Fucale is now 2-4-0 with a 3.80 goals-against average and a .867 save percentage heading into tonight’s game at Kalamazoo, Michigan. The Komets play host to Cincinnati on Saturday at the Coliseum.
“This win could spark us. But we’ve got to put it behind us and move forward,” Fucale said.
Fucale did admit he’s made a few little adjustments, however: “Playing pro hockey, you can’t start changing your whole game, all at once, midseason because that’s not what got you here. I remember what brought me here. I remember what brought me to where I was, and I know where I’m at and where I’m going, and I know how I’m playing. It’s the little adjustments and that’s what I’m doing right now. If I keep learning from the little mistakes and adjusting, that’s how we get better, man.”