The Komets played with a makeshift lineup Friday night. But they got what they needed – good goaltending, good special teams, opportunistic scoring and even some gritty plays such as D.J. King's two shot blocks and newcomer Marcus Ortiz's fight – as the Komets defeated the Kalamazoo Wings 4-2 at Memorial Coliseum.
“'Pleased' is probably not the best way to describe it. 'Impressed,' I would say, from a 17-man commitment and going in playing a man short (of a full lineup),” Komets coach Ben Boudreau said. “Everybody gave everything of themselves, plus more, and they did it as a team.”
Fort Wayne (7-2-1), netminder Samuel Harvey stopped 39 of 41 shots. Jet Greaves turned away 27 of 41 for Kalamazoo (5-4-0).
The Komets scored on 2 of 4 power plays. The Wings were 0 for 2.
“I thought it was great,” King said. “I thought we were really good in the O zone and, more importantly, I thought we were really good in the D zone. I thought the forwards, the defensemen, and when your goalie is hot like Sammy is, it makes it easy for us.”
It was the first of three games in as many nights at the Coliseum, a difficult stretch for a team missing more than half of its optimal lineup because of call-ups and injuries. Of the four Komets who wear letters – captain Matthew Boudens and alternates Anthony Petruzzelli, Marcus McIvor and Blake Siebenaler – only Petruzzelli was on the ice.
The Komets' goals came from Connor Jones, Matthew Barnaby, Matt Alvaro and Petruzzelli.
Greaves was defenseless to stop Jones from 15 feet out, on the rebound of twin brother Kellen Jones' shot during a power play, and it was 1-0 Komets at 5:32 of the first period. It snapped a string of 95:13 in which Fort Wayne hadn't scored a goal.
Barnaby made it 2-0 with a shot from the left circle that trickled between Greaves' legs at 6:11.
Harvey made a flurry of saves late in the period but was helpless after teammate Aaron Huffnagle sent an ill-advised pass in front of the Fort Wayne net that was intercepted by Erik Bradford to set up a Logan Lambdin goal at 17:58. That ended a stretch of 107:39 in which Harvey hadn't allowed a goal, including his 39-save shutout in a 3-0 victory over the Toledo Walleye on Nov. 13 at the Coliseum.
The Komets' Alvaro made it 3-1 by coming out of the corner, speeding to the rebound of a Nick Jermain shot and flicking it past Greaves. Petruzzelli scored a power-play goal at 10:17 of the third period, with a flick from the left circle, to make it 4-1.
Notes: The Komets were without several players called up to the American Hockey League, including: Boudens and Tyler Busch with Henderson; Siebenaler with Belleville; and Drake Rymsha with Hershey. Matt Murphy was released by Belleville and will rejoin the Komets. ... Out with injuries were Shawn Boudrias, McIvor and Corbin Baldwin.