The Journal Gazette
Saturday, February 15, 2020 12:00 am

Petschenig's fight sparked K's rally

Reaction, analysis after they score 5 unanswered goals

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

There is plenty to analyze from the Komets’ 5-3 victory over the Indy Fuel. Turnovers and lax defensive play had put Fort Wayne in a hole Friday night. Amazing offense took them to five unanswered goals in front of 8,567 fans at Memorial Coliseum.

But let’s start with what they were talking about in the locker room: Will Petschenig’s fight with Craig Wyszomirski after Fort Wayne had gone down 3-0 in the second period.

An interesting note: During the first intermission, Petschenig asked teammate Max Gottlieb, who had played with Wyszomirski before, what to expect and then they went out and threw some mitts.

“I was happy (the fight) went well for him and it got the crowd going, too, which was huge,” Gottlieb said.

(Video highlights, including the fight, are above.)

Asked about the fight, Komets coach Ben Boudreau said: “The crowd got into it. We’d had a lot of scoring chances, a lot of scoring chances, but when things aren’t going your way in Fort Wayne, you have to find a way to spark the team and to spark the crowd because you feed off the crowd. The energy that you feed off of is unbelievable, and that’s the sixth-man home advantage."

(Just asking, shouldn't it be seventh man? Or does the goalie not count?)

“That’s the best part about Fort Wayne, that’s the most lucrative thing about being here, it’s the fans," Boudreau continued. "It’s such an advantage to play in front of such a passionate fan base. It’s fun. When you get a win like that, and you’re smiling and high-fiving in front of a big home crowd, that’s a great feeling. It took one individual to spark this team and that’s Will Petschenig.”

Here are some of my thoughts from the game:

• Gottlieb, who had a (maybe) second-period goal waved off, answered by scoring a goal and setting up Shawn Szydlowski for one on a slapshot from the left circle. “We kind of peppered their goalie during the first two periods,” Gottlieb said. “We had 30 shots after two periods. We just stuck with it and ultimately got rewarded. We crashed the net in the third and that was the message (during intermission): get to the net, create traffic. We ended up getting goals on that and it’s good.”

• On that waved off goal, I don't have access to the overhead view that the referee has. But based on what I saw, and it's in the video above, I didn't see evidence to call that goal.

• While I thought the first two periods were largely abhorrent for the Komets because of the turnovers, the Komets didn’t feel they were playing all that badly. They pointed to the 30 shots on goal they had at the second intermission. “We made three mistakes tonight that cost us three goals,” Boudreau said. “It was a deflating feeling because there weren’t a lot of things going right. I thought we were playing a good game, they just made us pay for every mistake. And they were all three on turnovers. With that being said, I loved the leadership from our guys. We play with a bigger swagger when we have a Brady Shaw back in the lineup. We play well when we have a healthy team going.”

• It’s the first time Fort Wayne has won back-to-back games since early January. “All year, we’ve had that resiliency where we never give up. Five goals in the third period, that’s a fun game and one to remember for a long time,” Boudreau said. “It was a fun third period and I hope that’s the turning point for a lot of games to come.”

• Hopefully back-to-back good games gets the fans off the back of Dylan Ferguson for a bit. He stopped 18 shots, including one that was on the goal line late in the third period. For Indy, Dan Bakala stopped 41.

• Tonight’s just-shoot-the-puck reminder was demonstrated in Anthony Petruzzelli’s game-winning goal on a swivel from a tough angle in the left circle.

• Was there a change to the Komets’ offensive mentality in the third period? Yes, just crash the net. “Every opportunity has a chance to go in if the goalie doesn’t see it,” Boudreau said. “Four goals got behind him because our net presence was so good. We shot, for the most part, from the inside.”

• This was an interesting statistic. Coming into tonight, the Komets had scored 66.9% of their goals at even strength, the lowest percentage in the league. The highest was Florida at 83.1%. Two caveats, Fort Wayne led the league in penalty minutes, and was eighth in short-handed goals, so those influenced the numbers a bit. Tonight, they got 4 of 5 goals even strength (though one was an empty-netter).

• While the victory is all well and good, the Komets cannot expect to have any success with the way they’re coughing up the puck in or near their own zone. And there was a goal in which they seemed disinterested in recovering. These almost always fall on the defensemen.

• I’m hearing all-star Shawn St-Amant (upper body) could be back early next week.

• With Jason Binkley leaving for Europe, Petruzzelli was an alternate captain tonight.


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