Alan Lyszczarczyk flapped his arms as if he were a bird, after he’d scored to give the Komets a three-goal lead in the third period. Maybe he didn’t popularize the celebration – that was probably the Washington Capitals’ Evgeni Kuznetsov – but it was apropos because Lyszczarczyk has been flying since the Komets reacquired him.
He scored twice in the Komets’ 6-2 victory tonight over the Wheeling Nailers, in front of an announced crowd of 1,155 at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling, West Virginia. That gives Lyszczarczyk four goals and six points in five games since Fort Wayne got him from the Tulsa Oilers for seldom-used defenseman Curtis Leonard.
“Oh yeah, I feel comfortable,” Lyszczarczyk said. “They are all good players on this team, so I can make plays with them. Everyone is smart here, so it’s easy for me to play.”
In 31 games with Tulsa and Orlando, Lyszczarczyk had only two goals and five points. But his production since the trade has resembled last season, when he had 19 goals and 46 points in 57 games as a rookie for Fort Wayne.
“I don’t know anything different than what he’s done in Fort Wayne,” Komets coach Ben Boudreau said. “You’d have to have the chance to see him in Orlando or Tulsa. All we know is this Alan Lyszczarczyk. I wouldn’t expect anything different.”
Leonard has also upped his play since the trade, totaling one goal, three points and a plus-6 rating in four games for Tulsa.
Lyszczarczyk isn't the only new arrival tearing it up; goaltender Trevor Gorsuch stopped 29 shots for the Komets, giving him back-to-back victories and 49 saves on 52 Wheeling shots since being signed Thursday.
“I think anytime you have a motivated hockey player, who really wants to play well, there’s a lot of adrenaline running through their veins. I think (Gorsuch) has had a lot of that the last two games,” Boudreau said.
“But he’s also had a defense corps that’s played extremely well in front of him, and a committed forward group that’s come back and preached defense first. I think a lot of (our) goals that you see all stem from playing good defense that we turned into offense.”
Fort Wayne’s Shawn Szydlowski had three assists tonight, giving him one goal and seven points in five games since he was benched for three games.
Stephen Harper, Jackson Leef, Randy Gazzola and Morgan Adams-Moisan also scored for the ECHL-leading Komets (22-9-4), who went 4-2-0 in their six-game set with the league-worst Nailers (17-28-6).
The Komets are 12-3-3 this season against the Nailers, who got 35 saves from Shane Starrett.
“Together, we played with five guys as one and made sure that we had five guys in the defensive zone, so we don’t have trouble there,” Lyszczarczyk said. “We wanted to win our last game in Wheeling (this season) and we made it happen.”
Wheeling had a great chance to score early when Joshua Winquist broke in on Gorsuch, but he got slashed from behind by Leef. That dislodged the puck but gave Wheeling a power play, during which Nick Rivera’s pass from behind the net set up Jesse Lees for a one-timer and a goal on Wheeling’s second shot of the game.
Fort Wayne scored on its second shot of the game, too, when Connor Corcoran’s pass set up Lyszczarczyk for a one-timer from the right circle with Wheeling’s Cody Sylvester serving a holding penalty.
The Komets scored on 1 of 5 power plays. The Nailers were 1 for 3.
The floodgates opened for Fort Wayne the remainder of the first period: Harper skated in on a 2-on-1 rush and scored from the right circle at 9:02; and Fort Wayne-native Leef circumvented the defense and pushed the puck past Starrett for a 3-1 lead at 13:21.
The Nailers had an opportunity to get back into it after Gorsuch had the puck stolen from him behind the Fort Wayne net, but Gorsuch hustled back into position to make an acrobatic save on a Rivera at 18:05.
Fort Wayne took a 4-1 lead 18:28 into the second period, when he sent a shot from the left circle inside the far goalpost, but Wheeling’s Austin Fyten answered at 19:24 by putting in the rebound of his own shot.
Lyszczarczyk scored again 2:04 into the third period, when he fired the puck into an open net after he got to an Anthony Petruzzelli shot that had missed the net and caromed off the boards. That made it 5-2 and Adams-Moisan cemented the scoring.
Notes: Wheeling’s Chad Duchesne fought Corcoran in the first period and Oliver Cooper in the second. ... Corcoran had two assists… Goalie Robbie Beydoun, called from the Komets to Iowa of the American Hockey League on Thursday, made his first AHL start tonight and stopped 25 of 27 shots in a 5-2 victory over Chicago. Matthew Boudens had a fight for the Wolves. … Goalie Stefanos Lekkas, who is with Rochester of the AHL, also stopped 32 of 33 shots in a 3-1 victory over Syracuse.