Alan Lyszczarczyk did something he’d never done before — scoring twice on wraparounds — but Komets coach Ben Boudreau commended him for more than just his offensive prowess tonight.
Lyszczarczyk was on the ice late in the 3-2 victory over the Wheeling Nailers, who had pulled their goalie for an extra attacker, and that showed the trust Boudreau had in the 22-year-old Lyszczarczyk at the end of a multi-faceted game.
“He’s a dynamic player,” Boudreau said. “To tell you the truth, I know he scored two goals, and everybody’s going to remember that, but he was on the ice 6-on-5 in that last minute because he earned the trust of the coaching staff.
“It’s not just that he scores goals, but to win battles along the wall and make smart plays with the puck, I thought he was great on the forecheck. Everything added up to two goals, but I thought his all-around game tonight was one of the better games he’s had all season.”
The Komets (29-22-8), who have 13 games left in the regular season, now have a six-point lead over Indy for third place in the Central Division. The Komets finished their season series 6-1-1 against the Nailers (24-27-5), who play Thursday at Indianapolis.
“I just want to play my game and do the stuff that coach wants of me,” said Lyszczarczyk, a rookie, who was a healthy scratch in Saturday’s 5-3 victory at Toledo, Ohio.
He broke a 2-all tie by skating in 1-on-1 against Jeremy Beaudry, who fell before Lyszczarczyk circled the net to score the winner 10:10 into the third period in front of an announced crowd of 7,178 fans at Memorial Coliseum.
“The first period was maybe not that good for us, but after we woke up and played the game through hard work with the forecheck, we dialed in on all the details,” Lyszczarczyk said.
Dylan Ferguson stopped 27 of 29 shots for Fort Wayne.
“He was spectacular,” Boudreau said. “The two goals that went in, he had no chance on. I thought he made the saves that he was supposed to make. There might be a little relief that there’s no longer a three-goalie system here. But he played good and anybody who finds their way into the net, they’re battling for their life because we haven’t had that consistent No. 1 guy.”
The Komets also have goalie Cole Kehler. Patrick Munson, who was traded to Orlando for cash on Tuesday, was pulled today after stopping 17 of 23 shots in a 7-2 loss to Greenville.
The Nailers opened the scoring on their first shot on goal. After a Matt Abt shot sailed wide and caromed off the boards behind the Fort Wayne net, Jan Drozg snagged the puck and snuck it between Ferguson and the right goalpost 1:05 into the first period.
It remained scoreless at the first intermission, thanks to Fort Wayne defenseman Olivier Galipeau blocking a Drozg shot that seemed destined for an open net during a power play.
Lyszczarczyk tied it on a wraparound 2:38 into the second period, after he was foiled by goalie Alex D’Orio (26 saves) at the other side of the net.
The Komets took a 2-1 lead when a Gabriel Verpaelst shot from the blue line caromed off Shawn St-Amant in front and landed on the stick of Brady Shaw, who flicked it over a sprawled D’Orio at 5:06.
Ferguson maintained the lead by thwarting shots from Alex Butcher and Josh Holmstrom on a 2-on-1 Wheeling rush at 10:41. But another 2-on-1 rush for the Nailers, at 14:59, resulted in a Renars Krastenbergs goal to tie it at 2.
Asked if it was important to come out with a victory from a tight defensive game like this, Boudreau said: “Every win is important. More or less, when we talk about it, it’s how we win and how we play as a team. There were chances right in front but we bailed Fergie out because five guys collapsed in front of the net. We made mistakes, but we have guys buying in to the fact that we need guys coming back to the house and helping each other out. Outside of the 7-1 disaster Friday night at Toledo, that’s three straight games of defensive hockey that we’ve put together so let’s hope Friday was a one-off and we can keep going in the right direction.”
“We want to play great in the defensive zone first because we know we have a good offense,” he said. “We always score a couple goals, so when we play good D than we have a chance to win the game.”
Komets general manager David Franke said the team doesn’t expect to make any moves before the 3 p.m. Thursday trade deadline.
Notes: The referee was Sean Fernandez. … The Komets played without Adam Henry and Kyle Haas. … Will Petschenig returned to the lineup from an ankle injury. … Wheeling’s Blake Siebenaler, a native of Fort Wayne, didn’t play due to a lower-body injury.