The Journal Gazette
Sunday, January 05, 2020 1:00 am

Shaw's return giving Komets lift

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Brady Shaw, who made sure to watch some of the Komets’ games while he was away, wanted to impact things positively when he returned.

He has.

Patrick Munson wanted to take advantage of his opportunities because he doesn’t get many of them.

He has.

Shaw scored twice, and Munson stopped 27 of 30 shots Saturday, as the Komets defeated the Kalamazoo Wings 6-3 in front of 7,598 fans at Memorial Coliseum.

“I wanted to come back and be a difference maker,” said Shaw, who returned Friday from a five-game stint with Cleveland of the American Hockey League. “But I believe the team as a whole is just playing more of a complete game – way better defensively; better checking through the neutral zone; and just getting pucks in deep and working hard to get it back and create scoring chances.”

The Komets were mired in an eight-game winless streak before Shaw’s return, and he’s totaled three goals and six points in the two games since.

Munson, the third goalie on the roster behind Vegas Golden Knights prospect Dylan Ferguson and Los Angeles Kings prospect Cole Kehler, has stopped 61 of 66 shots, including a 5-2 road victory over the Indy Fuel on Friday.

“It’s nice to get (Shaw) back. He’s been sensational in the locker room because he brings a ton of energy and a lot of different elements of the game that we all feed off of,” Munson said. “I’ve just been lucky that the guys have played so well the last couple of games.”

Coach Ben Boudreau conceded the goaltending situation is complicated because the Golden Knights and Kings want their prospects playing. Limited roster space makes it difficult for teams to carry three goalies, and the Komets, who first signed Munson on Nov. 8, have had to release him once already.

“Munson has steadied us back there. He’s making saves and bailing us out,” Boudreau said. “That’s not a dig at Fergie. It’s not a dig at Kehler. Both those guys have played like that before. They’ve given us those moments before. We’re just looking for someone to give it to us consistently.”

The Komets (17-12-5) scored on their first two shots: Alan Lyszczarczyk fished the puck out from behind the net and snapped it in from off the right post, and Matthew Boudens carried the puck in from the blue line and sniped a shot from the right circle.

Kalamazoo (12-17-3) then pulled starting goalie Jake Kielly in favor of Jake Hildebrand, who finished with 28 saves on 31 shots.

Munson allowed a breakaway goal 7:15 into the first period to Matheson Iacopelli. Justin Kovacs tied it at the end of a 3-on-2 rush at 14:06.

While on a power play, the Komets regained their lead at 17:08, when captain A.J. Jenks redirected a blue-line shot from Jason Binkley. And Iacopelli tied it at 3 with a slap shot from the left circle at 16:57 of the second period.

“I thought the second period was a real bad one for us, but that’s why you play 60 minutes of hockey,” Boudreau said. “Collectively, as a group, we’re at our best when everybody’s playing together and everybody’s buying in. There were portions where everybody wasn’t buying in, but a little kick in the behind and we came out (for the third period) and played the right way, scored three goals, and we took away the two points. It was a real positive way to end the game.”

Shaw put Fort Wayne up with a 30-foot shot during a power-play goal 48 seconds into the third period, and he scored off a rebound for a 5-3 lead at 15:59. Taylor Ross added an empty-net goal.


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