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The Journal Gazette

  • Komets’ Kyle Follmer, right, shoots the puck as Indy’s Collin MacDonald closes in on him during the Fort Wayne Komets vs. Indy Fuel hockey game at Memorial Coliseum on Tuesday. GALLERY

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Komets’ Jamie Schaafsma, left, hits the puck into the net scoring a goal as Indy’s goaltender Jake Hildebrand watches him do it during the Fort Wayne Komets vs. Indy Fuel hockey game at Memorial Coliseum on Tuesday. GALLERY

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Komets right winger Kyle Thomas reaches for the puck as Indy’s Tristan King tries to stop him during the second period of Tuesday’s contest at Memorial Coliseum. Thomas posted two assists in the victory.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016 8:41 pm

Szydlowski's dazzling goal led Komets

Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette

Before we get to the 8-6 victory tonight over the Indy Fuel, of which so much happened one could write a book, let it be known that the Komets have lost another player. Defenseman Bobby Shea was called up to Rochester of the American Hockey League after the game at Memorial Coliseum.

– When was the last time you saw a game with two players scoring four goals? Shawn Szydlowski had four for the Komets. Indy’s Josh Shalla had four on his first four shots. Check out the video highlights above to see Szydlowski’s winning goal, in which he played the puck between his own legs before snapping it into the net. Sick. Szydlowski had a 5-goal game last season. The last opponent to net four on Fort Wayne was Wichita’s Andrew Martens in 2011 – in the Central Hockey League – and the Komets won that game, too.

“It was just a character win, first and foremost,” Szydlowski said. “There was no doubt in this locker room, even when we were behind 6-2. Everyone just beared down, starting winning more battles and that’s what happens when you do that.”

– Szydlowski also dropped the gloves to fight Brady Ramsay. “It was just us being down … and I just wanted to go get something for momentum,” Szydlowski said.

– Speaking of Ramsay, who was knocked out on a Dan Milan hit, the Komets believe it was clean even though they got an interference penalty. According to some in the locker room, last season an identical hit knocked out Brock Montgomery of Fort Wayne and the league ruled it clean. Also, again according to the K’s, Tulsa had a similar hit this season that didn’t draw discipline. Personally, I thought it was clean, too. If anything, Ramsay was tugged from behind by a Fort Wayne player to precipitate the hit and that put him in a vulnerable position.

– The Komets’ players may think they escaped a rough day of practice Wednesday by coming back to win. That may not be the case. Not after two horrible starts in a row. “We were not good defensively tonight. Let’s call a spade a spade,” said coach Gary Graham, whose Komets play host to Cincinnati on Thursday. “In my mind, we were not good around the net for whatever reason tonight and we were very fortunate to come out with the win.”

– The Komets’ penalty kill also needs some work and they will focus on that, too, after Indy scored on 2 of 3 power plays.

– The Komets keep having to pull goalies in games. Someone in the press room likened Graham to a baseball manager having to go to the bullpen. Strangely, most of the times a goalie has been pulled, it hasn’t been his fault. Tonight, Eric Hartzell was hung out to dry, just as Garrett Bartus had been in the 6-1 loss to Brampton on Friday. Still, the Komets are missing seven regular players now and they need their goalies to start stealing them games.

– Even though Indy has lost 13 in a row, the Komets believe they are improving. As evidence, they pointed to recent games by the Fuel against Brampton; Indy looked better against Colin Chaulk’s Beast than the Komets did last week.