Komets defenseman Matt Murphy has shown many times he’s got chops at the offensive end.
On Saturday night, he showed his resiliency, too.
Murphy netted the winning goal 11:18 into the third period, depositing the rebound of a Matt Alvaro shot into the net during a Fort Wayne power play, to propel the Komets to a 3-2 victory over the Indy Fuel in Indianapolis.
The goal came 8 minutes after Murphy had appeared to score a similar goal, but that one was taken off the scoreboard by referee Trevor Wohlford, who looked at video replay and determined that Connor Jones had interfered with Fuel goaltender Cale Morris before Murphy shot it.
Shortly after that decision, Indy’s Mike Lee netted a 45-foot shot during a power play to tie it at 2.
“I’m very pleased. Very pleased,” Komets coach Ben Boudreau said. “We have a very resilient group and there’s a lot of belief in that locker room.”
Fort Wayne scored on 1 of 3 power plays and Indy was 1 for 2.
“We’ve got a really resilient group here with a lot of belief in ourselves amongst the guys in the locker room,” said Murphy, who has four goals and six points in six Fort Wayne games this season. “It was definitely a letdown and a bit disappointing when that goal was called back, and then we obviously took a penalty and they scored to tie it, so it was good to get ourselves back on the power play and put ourselves back up and be able to hang on for the win. It was good to get the two points and get out of that (0-2-1) skid.”
It was Marvel Superhero Night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum – the Fuel wore Sam Wilson Captain America jerseys and the Komets donned Loki uniforms – and a crowd of 5,153 was on hand to see Morris stop 27 of 30 shots and Fort Wayne’s Samuel Harvey thwart 29 of 31.
“There was just a belief and a hunger to win. It would have been very easy, especially after getting scored on (by Lee), to play on our heels. But I thought we played on our toes and we went after it and got it. It was just a hungry group, a determined group, and a confident group.” said Boudreau, whose Komets are 4-3-2 in games decided by one goal. “If you look at the amount of one-goal games we’ve been in to start the year, we’ve been battle-tested and we’ve been able to come through in those games.”
In the previous meeting between the teams, Nov. 17 at Indiana Farmers Coliseum, the Fuel won 1-0 backed by a 27-save Morris shutout as Jiri Patera foiled 22 of 23 shots for Fort Wayne. The teams meet again 7 p.m. Wednesday in Indianapolis.
Decimated by injuries and call-ups, the Komets played with nine defensemen – three more than is normal – and only seven forwards. Blue-liners Zach Tolkinen, Chays Ruddy and Will Graber skated up front, as they did in Thursday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Toledo Walleye at Memorial Coliseum.
“I give a ton of credit to Tolks and Ruddy and those guys who are going up and playing forward,” Murphy said. “It can’t be an easy thing and I think they’ve done a really good job of it. It shows how good a group of guys that we have as players, and as people, that they’re willing to go up there, do the job, do whatever it takes to get a win.”
Graber opened the scoring at 18:40 by redirecting a Connor Corcoran blue-line shot. Graber has three goals in the last four games, two coming off deflections and one off a rebound. The Komets took a 2-0 lead 24 seconds into the second period, when Morris didn’t quite cover the puck after making a save and Tyler Busch chipped it past him.
Indy answered at 5:24 when Spencer Watson, stationed off the right post, redirected a Christopher Cameron shot to cut Fort Wayne’s lead to 2-1.
Notes: The Komets’ Corbin Baldwin fought Indy’s Cameron 7:04 into the first period, after Cameron leveled Kellen Jones along the boards. … Ruddy fought Indy’s Cedric Lacroix 8:31 into the second period. … Komets captain Matthew Boudens remained with Henderson of the American Hockey League, Blake Siebenaler was with Belleville, Drake Rymsha was with Hershey and Stephen Harper was with Chicago. … Also out were Shawn Szydlowski, Shawn Boudrias, Oliver Cooper, Aaron Huffnagle and Marcus Ortiz.