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The Journal Gazette

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette The Komets Shawn Szydlowski steals the puck  from Indy's Jack Burton during the first period Saturday at Memorial Coliseum.

Sunday, January 07, 2018 1:00 am

Indy 2, Komets 1

Goalie's heroics, move thwart K's

Knocks net off moorings; no penalty

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Goaltender Etienne Marcoux showed why he's going to the ECHL All-Star Classic, stopping 35 shots Saturday to lead the Indy Fuel to the rarest of things – a 2-1 victory over the Komets at Memorial Coliseum.

It was the Fuel's first victory in regulation time in 18 games at the Coliseum since the teams began playing in the ECHL, dropping Fort Wayne's record in such games to 14-1-3.

Just as impressive as Marcoux's glove hand and ability to thwart three breakaways was a move with 17 seconds remaining and the Komets peppering the net with shots. He knocked the net off its moorings, getting a break for his clearly worn-out team but not a deserved penalty from referee Lucas Martin.

“It's the oldest trick in the book and for (the referee) to not read the play like that, it's really appalling. Anybody who knows the game of hockey knows that's what the goalie did,” said Komets coach Gary Graham, who explained that Martin believed a Fort Wayne player had made contact with the right post to dislodge the net. “But you've got to give their goalie credit; he snuck one past the referee and it was a smart move.”

The Komets wasted a terrific performance by their own goalie, Michael Houser, who stopped 36 shots, and squandered a 1-0 lead on an early Daniel Maggio redirection goal with a penalty marred second period.

“If you saw all those penalty kills, our guys were completely zapped,” Graham said. “Killing off all those penalties, it completely zapped the life out of us in the second period. ... And it got them all the momentum in the world.”

Indy was scoreless on five power plays and Fort Wayne was 0 for 4. Indy's Cam Reid tied it at 1 with a redirection 18:20 into the second period. Teammate Garrett Clarke netted the winner 24 seconds into the third period with a shot from between the circles.

“I think (Marcoux) played really well. You've got to give him credit. He's a good goalie,” Komets captain Jamie Schaafsma said. “But there are lots of good goalies in this league, and we've got to find some ways to find some more offense. I thought we could have done a better job of making things difficult for him, getting greasier in front of him and making his life tough. We might have made it too easy for him tonight.”

The Komets (21-10-2), who are 4-1-0 against the Fuel (13-16-3) this season, including a 6-4 victory Friday in Indianapolis, have won 12 of the last 14 meetings between the teams. However, the Komets lost their hold of first place in the Central Division, which they had for only about 24 hours, because Toledo defeated Manchester 3-0 on Saturday.

The Komets, who play today at Wheeling, West Virginia, may have lost Shawn Szydlowski, who came into Saturday tied for the ECHL's scoring lead, because of an undisclosed injury. He would join Dennis Kravchenko (hand), Justin Hodgman (shoulder), Zac Larraza (leg) and Taylor Crunk (undisclosed) on the injured list.

“Clearly, tonight, (Szydlowski) was really battling it,” Graham said. “He came back and tried to give me something. But with Kravchenko being out and Szyd really trying to battle through something tough tonight, we needed some other guys to step up and we didn't quite get it.”

jcohn@jg.net