The last time Flint goaltender Sergei Zvyagin slipped between the pipes in Memorial Coliseum, the Komets went through him like a fresh breeze through a screen door, scoring four goals in 35 minutes and chasing him to the bench.
Call Sunday night the Screen Door’s Revenge, in that case.
On a night when the Komets did everything but attack the net with hand grenades and rocket launchers, Zvyagin proved impervious to harm, facing 56 shots and turning aside 54 of them. And despite being outshot 56-30, last-place Flint beat Fort Wayne for the second straight night, 3-2, in front of 7,044 fans at Memorial Coliseum.
It was the Generals’ first win at the Coliseum this season and didn’t require much explanation.
If we didn’t hit the crossbar or posts, we were hittin’ the goalie, Komets coach Al Sims said. Just the way it goes sometimes.
Colin Chaulk scored 1:34 in on Fort Wayne’s first shot, and Sean O’Connor smoked one over Zvyagin’s shoulder at 14:10 of the second, picking up a loose puck at the blue line and stepping niftily around a defenseman. But after that, Zvyagin was unsolvable.
At the other end, Dan Lapointe and John Ronan scored for Flint to send it to the third period knotted at 2, and Matt Moffatt scored the game-winner at 5:44 of the third, rifling the puck over Nick Boucher’s glove from dead in front after a giveaway in the Komets’ end.
The goals they got were our defense’s own breakdowns, said O’Connor, who put an astounding 12 shots on Zvyagin – more than Flint had as a team in two of the three periods – and was rewarded only the one time. You’ve got to give it to them, the goals they had were right in front of the net with the guys wide open.
The Komets blistered Zvyagin with 22 shots in the first period and 18 in the third, spending nearly the entire final 10 minutes in the Flint end. O’Connor squeezed off one last round as time expired, but, typically on this night, it hit the crossbar and kicked away.
I couldn’t see the net when I took that shot at the end, O’Connor said. I just saw the puck lying there and I was guessing whether to go through the defenseman’s legs or if he was gonna put his legs together, and I guessed right.
He put his legs together, and I just shot to the side of him and hopefully it would hit the net. I just got a little unlucky.
Story of the night.
(Flint’s) in last place for a reason, Sims said. If they played like this against every team, they would not be in last place. Every chance they had went in, and we hit crossbars, posts, right up until O.C.’s crossbar at the end there. It’s just disappointing.
I guess we showed a lot of energy, a lot of poise with the puck, got a lot of shots, got to the net a lot, he said.
But getting close isn’t good enough.