The Komets may have played with fire tonight – penalties were an issue and they needed some help from the goalposts and video replay – but they hung on a for a crucial 2-1 victory over the Indy Fuel in front of 8,187 fans at Memorial Coliseum.
The Komets’ third goaltender, Patrick Munson, was in net for the first time since Feb. 8, having sat out the previous seven games, and he stopped 30 shots.
The Komets, who totaled 16 shots, improved to 21-13-6 in the division, including a 6-1-1 record against the Fuel. Fort Wayne now has a three-point lead over Indy for third place in the Central Division with 17 games remaining in the regular season.
The Komets are eight games into their run of 14 consecutive games within the division, and they are 5-3-0 so far. They next play 7 p.m. Tuesday at Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Of the 11 penalties, eight were called on Fort Wayne. The victory came a night after the Komets fell to 0-6-2 against second-place Toledo with a 5-1 loss at the Coliseum.
Munson was bailed out by teammate Mason Bergh, who prevented the puck from crossing the goal line after Spencer Watson, the ECHL’s leading goal scorer, fired a shot got that behind the netminder 1:13 into the first period. Munson also got some help from the goalpost at 16:57, when Indy’s Dylan McLaughlin’s shot for an open net caromed off the iron.
A perfectly executed play off a faceoff gave a 1-0 lead to the Komets, who got a cross-ice pass from Max Gottlieb to Brad Morrison for a left-circle shot that found the net, during a power play at 9:59.
The Komets took a 2-0 lead, controversially, on an Alan Lyszczarczyk goal 1:33 into the second period. Shawn St-Amant had circled the Indy net and sent a pass to Lyszczarczyk, whose shot caromed off the skate of goalie Charles Williams near the goal line. Referee Sean MacFarlane didn’t signal for a goal but found convincing evidence that the puck had completely crossed the line to make it a 2-0 after video replay.
Munson got some more help from the goalposts when Indy’s Liam Coughlin sent a shot off one at 9:11.
Indy pressured the Komets in the third period with seven of the first nine shots on goal. Munson had to get a replacement mask midway through the period, too.
Penalties continued to dog the Komets, who allowed a power-play goal to Cliff Watson on a shot from the point at 10:44, after Shawn Szydlowski got a delay-of-game penalty for putting the puck into the stands.
Indy scored on 1 of 7 power plays. Fort Wayne was 1 of 2.
The Komets wore pink jerseys for the second straight night and they were auctioned off to benefit the Vera Bradley Foundation’s fight against breast cancer. Szydlowski’s sold for the most, $1,111, and Brady Shaw’s went for $1,010.
Notes: Defenseman Brayden Pachal, who rejoined the Komets for Friday’s game, was called back to Chicago of the higher-level American Hockey League early Saturday. … Cole Kehler backed up Munson as Dylan Ferguson was scratched. … The Komets also were without Will Petschenig, Brett McKenzie, Matthew Boudens, who is with Chicago, and Kyle Haas, who has completed his two-game ECHL suspension for Wednesday’s postgame fight with Kalamazoo’s Ben Wilson.