There have been plenty of ups and downs with the Komets’ goaltending since they reached the conference finals in 2018. But Robbie Beydoun, just three games into his tenure with the team, is making a case that there’s more dependability now.
He had an abundance of great saves Saturday in the Komets’ 7-2 victory over the Wheeling Nailers, none better than when he sprawled to stop Kyle Marino’s one-timer from point-blank range in the third period at Memorial Coliseum.
That preserved a two-goal lead, and the Komets cemented their victory with goals from Mason Primeau, Anthony Petruzzelli (empty net) and Jackson Leef.
Petruzzelli had an earlier goal, and Marco Roy, Randy Gazzola and Blake Siebenaler also scored for the ECHL-leading Komets (20-8-4), who have won five of six games. They are 10-2-3 against league-worst Wheeling (16-26-6).
“We were finding the back of the net,” Beydoun said. “There were times in the game when we weren’t exactly playing our game. We had some sloppiness, even from me, but we still found the back of the net and that’s important. Especially in the pros, you’re playing a lot of games and you’re not exactly going to be 100% throughout every game. But this is what winning teams, successful teams, do – even when you’re not playing your best, you still find the back of the net and still find a way to win.”
Beydoun stopped 38 of 40 shots. It was the most saves by a Komets goalie since Cole Kehler stopped 45 in a 3-2 shootout loss to Toledo on Jan. 26, 2020.
Taran Kozun stopped 26 of 32 shots for Wheeling, which got goals from Austin Fyten and Jesse Lees.
“I really respected Wheeling’s game. I thought it was the toughest they had played us all season,” Fort Wayne coach Ben Boudreau said. “And then you look up at the scoreboard at the end of the game and wonder how it happened, because they out-skated us at times and they out-competed us at times. If it wasn’t for Robbie in net, saving our hide, I think the score could have been different. But we were resilient.”
In three games since joining the Komets from the University of Wisconsin, Beydoun is 3-0-0 with a 1.33 goals-against average and a .954 save percentage.
“I think I’ve settled in pretty well. It’s a little bit different style of game (in the pros),” Beydoun said. “There may be a little bit more structure. It’s kind of hard to pinpoint one exact (difference), but I’m having fun with the pro game. That’s the one thing, I’m really having fun playing pro. This is a really fun team to play for, it’s a fun league, and it’s nice playing in an atmosphere again. In college, we didn’t really have any fans (because of the pandemic). It’s been a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to continuing it.”
The Komets also have goalies Dylan Ferguson, soon to come back from a hand injury, and Louis-Philip Guindon. They’re hopeful Stefanos Lekkas will return from Rochester of the higher-level American Hockey League.
Notes: Former Komets player and coach Ron Ullyot, 75, was in an accident in Florida, according to multiple team sources. He was riding a bicycle and was hit by a car, resulting in major injuries. He was released from the hospital Saturday to convalesce at home. ... Primeau and defenseman Connor Corcoran made their debuts after they’d been with Henderson of the AHL. Primeau had a goal and an assist after taking a puck to the face; he received several stitches and wore a full face shield.