Six times this season, the Komets have given up a goal on their opponent's first shot. The Komets have come back to win four of those games.
Sunday, though, the Komets' uphill climb was thwarted by the goaltending of Dan Bakala, and Fort Wayne lost 3-2 to the Indy Fuel in front of an announced crowd of 3,114 at Memorial Coliseum.
“There are a handful of things that didn't quite go our way,” said Komets captain A.J. Jenks, who scored the game's final goal 19:35 into the second period by receiving a Brandon Hawkins crossing pass and smacking the puck into an open net during a power play.
“There are some things we could have tightened up and been better at. But at the end of the day, it's the tail end of (three games in three days). It's a tough weekend, a hard-fought weekend, and we'll take the four out of six points.”
Bakala stopped 32 shots, doing his best work in the third period when Fort Wayne tallied 14 of 19 shots.
The Komets (12-5-3) are 5-2-1 against Indy (25-11-3), including a 5-0 Fort Wayne victory Friday, as Dylan Ferguson had a 22-save shutout, and a 3-2 victory Saturday, when Marco Roy had two goals including the overtime winner.
“Generally, I'm pleased (with the weekend). I mean, we played a great game Friday, got a come-from-behind win Saturday, and had a tight one tonight,” Komets coach Ben Boudreau said. “You play the same team so many times, it's ludicrous to think you're never going to lose. If you do lose, you want to lose the right way, as a team, and today I thought we were fatigued, but we played till the last buzzer.”
Fort Wayne goalie Louis-Philip Guindon stopped 24 shots, though he was bested by a Willie Raskob shot from the bottom of the right circle 3:59 into the first period. It was the third time Guindon has allowed a goal on the first shot.
“In this particular instance, I don't necessarily think it was anything we did (wrong) as a team,” Jenks said. “Every now and then, a guy makes a really nice play and you've kind of got to tip your cap. A guy made a really nice shot from a tough angle. It's a tough way to start, but there's a lot of hockey after that to make up for it.”
The Komets are 4-5-2 when allowing the first goal, 8-0-1 when scoring first.
Indy took a 2-0 lead on a Michael Pelech breakaway 1:14 into the second period, after he was set up by a Raskob pass from deep within his own zone.
Fort Wayne's Justin Vaive answered during a power play 2:38 later, camping in front of the right goalpost and taking three shots before the puck trickled underneath Bakala.
Indy regained its two-goal lead during a power play at 16:31, when former Komets forward Brad Morrison cut to the net and smacked in Jared Thomas' crossing pass.
Fort Wayne's top-ranked power-play unit scored on 2 of 4 opportunities. Indy's third-rated unit was 1 for 5.
“You can't win them all, even though we want to. We want to be greedy like that, but you've got to give credit where credit's due and they found a way to put one more in than us,” Boudreau said.