The Journal Gazette
Friday, March 26, 2021 10:50 pm

K's regain form, shut out Fuel

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

This looked more familiar.

On the heels of losing three consecutive road games, the Komets returned to their winning ways by defeating the Indy Fuel 5-0 tonight in front of an announced crowd of 3,114 at Memorial Coliseum.

Zach Pochiro and Brandon Hawkins had two goals apiece for the Komets, who improved to 4-1-1 against the Fuel in the first of three straight games between the teams at the Coliseum.

Fort Wayne (11-4-3), which had lost three in a row to the South Carolina Stingrays to knock them out of the ECHL’s top spot in the standings, got 23 saves tonight from goaltender Dylan Ferguson.

Earlier in the day, Ferguson was assigned to the Komets by the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. He had played one game this season with Henderson of the Triple-A American Hockey League, stopping all 24 shots he faced in shutting out Bakersfield.

Ferguson, 22, was with the Komets as a rookie last season, though he was hampered by injuries, illnesses and undisclosed off-ice problems. He went 7-4-2 with a 3.87 goals-against average and a .869 save percentage for Fort Wayne.

The Komets are carrying three goalies, including rookie Louis-Philip Guindon, who had the only other Fort Wayne shutout this season, and Jake Theut, who was called up from Macon of the Southern Professional Hockey League this week.

The Komets scored on 3 of 6 power plays. The Fuel was 0 for 7.

Pochiro opened the scoring for Fort Wayne 5:21 into the first period, slipping the pick just inside the right post after teammate Mathieu Brodeur’s blue-line shot was knocked down in front of the net.

Pochiro had another unusual goal for a 2-0 lead at 10:00; he lost control of the puck, regained it, shot too high, and it caromed off Indy’s Keoni Texeira and found the back of the net for a power-play goal.

The Komets took a 3-0 lead on just their 11th shot, when A.J. Jenks netted a 35-foot wrist shot at 14:08, after teammate Randy Gazzola forced a turnover at the Fort Wayne blue line.

The Fuel (24-11-2) failed to get much going offensively until a power play early in the second period – Anthony Petruzzelli was serving a slashing penalty – and Indy’s Matt Marcinew had a chance to score but hit the post.

On Fort Wayne’s 19th shot, it took a 4-0 lead: Hawkins sent a shot from the left circle through the legs of goaltender Dan Bakala during a power play. Hawkins struck again, during another power play at 19:26, with a blistering shot from the top of the left circle for a 5-0 lead.

Bakala stopped 28 shots.

Prior to the game, Indy’s head coach, Doug Christensen, was suspended six games and fined an undisclosed amount of money by the ECHL for “non-compliance” of the collective bargaining agreement with the Professional Hockey Players’ Association and of the salary cap. Andy Contois is coaching the Fuel in his absence, including three more games against Fort Wayne.

Notes: There was a late fight between Fort Wayne’s Shawn Szydlowski and Indy’s Antoine Waked, who had boarded Anthony Petruzzelli. There were 37 penalty minutes from the sequence. … Brad Morrison, who played last season for the Komets, joined the Fuel from Rockford of the AHL. … The referee was Jacob Rekucki. … The Komets played without Morgan Adams-Moisan, Anthony Nellis, Nolan LaPorte, Oliver Cooper, Curtis Leonard and Theut. … Bruce Boudreau, the former Komets player and coach, who went on to win Coach of the Year in the NHL, attended the game. His son is Komets coach Ben Boudreau.


Sign up for our Komets newsletter

Newsletter is sent Friday and Monday