It’s safe to say that, even though he’s only been here for two games, Jermaine Loewen is one of the most popular players in the Komets’ locker room.
His energy is contagious. And he got the game puck tonight.
After scoring his first professional goal in tonight’s 5-3 victory over the Indy Fuel, by redirecting a Taylor Ross shot (video is above), Loewen told me: “It felt unreal. We just had some great work there. Rosser got it to me on a crosser between my legs, and I just tried to deflect it up and it went it. There was so much emotion and excitement. It’s just been crazy to get that first one. I’m just excited to be here with this team. I feel the energy from all the guys and we’re trying to get in the right direction.”
Shawn St-Amant scored twice. Ross and Mason Bergh also scored for Fort Wayne.
Notwithstanding a subpar third period, in which Fort Wayne was outscored 2-1 and outshot 15-6, it was another impressive game from the Komets, who have shown they are at their best when they attack the net and when they get physical.
Tonight, they had a huge Brayden Pachal check, and fights from Matthew Boudens and Bergh.
“When your team point leader (Bergh) is dropping the mitts, you’ve got a full-team buy-in,” coach Ben Boudreau said. “I’ve said it after a lot of wins – everybody is invested right now and everybody is finding a way to contribute on or off the scoresheet. It’s a lot of fun. And they’re starting to see what the Fort Wayne identity is right now and what it takes to win games.”
The lineup decisions are so hard for the Komets right now. If they want to put a player such as, say, Brett McKenzie back in the lineup Sunday at Toledo, Ohio, then that means they’d have to sit someone such as Ross, who has scored in back-to-back games, or Alan Lyszczarczyk, who had another good game.
It helps that the Komets have gotten better goaltending this weekend. Dylan Ferguson was good Friday before he got called back to Chicago of the American Hockey League, and Matthew Villalta was strong tonight with 29 saves.
“We still talked about playing the full 60 minutes,” Boudreau said. “You think you’ve got it in the bag at 4-1, boom, boom, next thing you know you’re puckered up. This was a learning lesson that we didn’t have to pay for this time because we did a great enough job through the first 50 minutes of the game. We’d given ourselves that cushion.”
There have been many growing pains with this young team, and there will continue to be, but I think we really saw the potential Friday and tonight.