Komets coach Ben Boudreau had a youth coach who told him: “If you want money, you go to the bank. If you want bread, you go to the bakery. If you want goals, you go to the net.”
Boudreau's players have embraced that philosophy the last two games, getting almost all their goals by ramming their way to the goal crease. They've also been dropping the gloves to fight and getting good goaltending.
The result Saturday was a 5-3 victory over the Indy Fuel, on the heels of defeating the Florida Everblades 4-2.
Shawn St-Amant scored twice, and Mason Bergh, Jermaine Loewen and Taylor Ross also scored for Fort Wayne, which got fights from Bergh and Matthew Boudens. A tooth-chattering Brayden Pachal hit on Sam Kurker was also a highlightfor the 7,992 fans at Memorial Coliseum.
“When your team point leader (Bergh) is dropping the mitts, you've got a full-team buy-in,” Boudreau said. “I've said it after a lot of wins – everybody is invested right now and everybody is finding a way to contribute on or off the scoresheet. It's a lot of fun. And they're starting to see what the Fort Wayne identity is right now and what it takes to win games.”
Matthew Villalta stopped 28 shots for the Komets, who let things get a little too close for comfort in the third period, when Indy's Mathew Thompson and Spencer Watson scored to cut the deficit to one goal. St-Amant's power-play goal cemented the victory.
“We still talked about playing the full 60 minutes,” Boudreau said. “You think you've got it in the bag at 4-1, boom, boom, next thing you know you're puckered up. This was a learning lesson that we didn't have to pay for this time because we did a great enough job through the first 50 minutes of the game.”
The Komets (5-2-1) skate their third game in as many days at 5:15 p.m. today at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio. The Walleye (4-1-1), who were idle Friday, lost their home opener Saturday 4-3 in overtime to the Everblades.
The Komets came into the night leading the ECHL with 4.57 goals per game, and they opened the scoring when Bergh broke in alone on the goaltender 8:46 into the first period. Bergh, a rookie, has at least one point in every game and is on a five-game goal-scoring streak, giving him six goals and 10 points overall.
The Fuel's Alex Krushelnyski tied it at 12:31 at the end of a 2-on-1 rush, but Fort Wayne regained the lead when Loewen, a Vegas Golden Knights prospect and the first Jamaican-born player to be drafted by an NHL team, netted his first professional goal by redirecting a Ross shot.
“It felt unreal. We just had some great work there. Rosser got it to me on a crosser between my legs, and I just tried to deflect it up and it went it,” Loewen said after his second Komets game. “There was so much emotion and excitement. It's just been crazy to get that first one. I'm just excited to be here with this team. I feel the energy from all the guys and we're trying to get in the right direction.”
After St-Amant made it 3-1 on a redirection, Ross fought through a flurry of saves by Indy's Charles Williams, including two from his stomach, and slipped the puck just over the goal line 2:25 into the second period. Williams stopped 22 shots for the Fuel (3-4-0).
Komets at Toledo
When: 5:15 p.m. today
Where: Huntington Center, Toledo
Radio: 1190 AM, 107.5 FM