A positive from the Komets' weekend was that different players scored. That included goals Saturday from Blake Siebenaler, Matt Murphy and Matthew Boudens, who had each come in with only one this season.
But there was a negative – a 6-3 loss Saturday to the Wheeling Nailers, who capitalized on seemingly every early scoring chance, frustrated the Komets late and rode the goaltending of Shane Starrett, who stopped 30 of 33 shots at Memorial Coliseum.
“We lacked finish tonight, that's for sure. But (the Nailers) played a frustrating game. They played the right way, they execute a lot of their little details and they push the pace north,” said Fort Wayne coach Ben Boudreau, adding turnovers undercut the Komets. “Tonight at the blue line, that was one of the main things that we talked about, how (turnovers are) going to kill us. Twenty shots on net, five of them go in, and it's no fault to the goalies. They were great scoring chances. I thought our team abandoned structure and it cost us tonight.”
Fort Wayne's Dylan Ferguson stopped 11 of 15 shots before he was knocked out of the game by a third-period elbow from Joshua Winquist, who got a major penalty and a game misconduct with his team leading 4-3.
Ferguson's replacement, Jeremy Helvig, stopped 3 of 4 shots, allowing Patrick Watling to score at the end of a 2-on-1 rush at 10:31.
Nick Rivera added an empty-net goal for the league-worst Nailers (13-23-5).
Ferguson was walking around after the game.
“I think we're getting pucks to the net, we've just got to bear down on our chances,” Boudens said. “I think we struggled a little bit on the power play tonight (going 0 for 5) and that's kind of been our bread and butter. It's a frustrating one, especially when it comes off like that, but fortunately we have them again Wednesday, so it won't be sitting in the back of our heads too long.”
The Komets (14-6-3) defeated Jacksonville 5-4 on Friday, getting goals from uncommon scorers Randy Gazzola, Nick Boka and Mathieu Brodeur, and it seemed they might repeat the feat when Jackson Leef set up his fellow native of Fort Wayne, Siebenaler, for a goal from the right circle 7:48 into the first period.
The Nailers answered 18 seconds later, when Matt Alfaro put a rebound into the net. Winquist made it 2-1 by redirecting a Cody Sylvester shot at 11:26. Murphy stripped Jesse Lees of the puck behind the Wheeling net and then scored on a wraparound. The Nailers regained the lead with Sylvester scoring at the end of a 2-on-1 rush with his team skating short-handed at 19:39.
“The focus for us has always been the strength of our defense and I thought we sacrificed our defense tonight to try to generate offense,” Boudreau said, “and that ended up biting us pretty good.”
Wheeling made it 4-2 when Brady Tomlak wrapped it into an open goal and Boudens had a redirection.