TOLEDO – Shawn St-Amant was the only Komets player to find the back of the net Sunday in a 3-1 loss to the Toledo Walleye, yet he said after the game: “I'm not scared of them.”
According to the evidence presented Sunday, he shouldn't be.
The Komets peppered the Toledo net, finishing with a 40-27 shot advantage at the Huntington Center. Even though the Komets (5-3-1) and their top-ranked offense were held to fewer than three goals for the first time this season, they left thinking they'd lost for only two reasons: Toledo goaltender Pat Nagle's sterling play and some bad penalties by Fort Wayne.
Toledo scored on 3 of 5 power plays on a night Nagle, a longtime Fort Wayne goalie, became the Walleye's winningest netminder with 64. Fort Wayne was 0 for 4, as it fell to 0-2-0 against the Walleye.
“We were pretty dominating, I think, on offense,” said St-Amant, who cut the Toledo lead to 2-1 when he stick-handled around former NHL defenseman Steve Oleksy and chipped the puck past Nagle 1:41 into the third period. “We got pucks at the net, and their goalie had a good game. We tried our best to get at the pucks and get the rebounds, but at the end of the day they got the win.”
Toledo (5-1-1) cemented the victory at 10:02 when Brett Boeing scored off a rebound with Max Gottlieb serving a delay-of-game penalty.
Boeing's goal came just seconds after Fort Wayne goalie Matthew Villalta had the best save of the season so far, reaching behind his back to snag an Abbott Girduckis redirection.
“I can't pick any part of the game I didn't like except three (power-play goals),” Fort Wayne coach Ben Boudreau said. “They took advantage of the special teams. At the end of the day, I thought Nagle was the difference in net. I loved the way we competed at the back end of three (games in three days). We had a ton of scoring chances. But you have a goalie who steals you a game. To be a good team, you need somebody in net to do that every once in awhile.”
Fort Wayne's Mason Bergh went without a point for the first time this season, and his goal-scoring streak ended at five games.
It was A.J. Jenks' first game back at the Huntington Center, which had been his home rink the previous five seasons, and he got a warm reception from the 6,657 fans during an early game stoppage. But Jenks' penalties for tripping and hooking put the Walleye on the power plays that got them their first two goals.
Troy Loggins scored on a shot from the point 14:46 into the first period. Girduckis redirected a T.J. Hensick pass from the far boards to make it 2-0 at 9:44 of the second period.
The game got off to an awkward start when linesman Logan Bellgraph was injured on a faceoff 1 minute into the first period. He was butt-ended in the face by St-Amant while dropping the puck and upended by Toledo's Alec McCrea. Bellgraph wasn't able to return because of an apparent head injury. The referee, Casey Terreri, and other linesman, Marc-Antoine Beaulieu, called the game alone until Chad Fuller arrived 7:24 into the second period to take Bellgraph's place.
“We did a lot of right things,” Boudreau said. “If we're going to lose, we lost the right way, by playing hard all the way to the end. We competed, we battled, we got to the net. We did all those little things well. We won faceoffs and were physical. That's a good team, but we were a better team and the difference was who they had in net.