Few things in the ECHL had been as guaranteed as a Komets victory over the Indy Fuel at Memorial Coliseum.
Heading into tonight, the Komets had won 14 of 17 meetings between the teams here. And the three they’d lost had either come in 3-on-3 overtime over overtime shootouts.
But tonight they ran into a formidable goaltender, Etienne Marcoux, and lost 2-1, making it the first time in their last 18 games against the Fuel at the Coliseum that the Komets came away without a point for the standings.
They also lost their grasp of first place in the Central Division, which they’d only had for about 24 hours, since the Toledo Walleye beat the Manchester Monarchs 3-0 to overtake the Komets.
Marcoux stopped 35 shots as Indy won for the first time in five meetings this season with the Komets, who got 36 saves from Michael Houser.
The Komets had 16 of the first period’s 24 shots and got the only goal at 5:01, when Daniel Maggio redirected Ryan Lowney’s shot from the blue line and it went up and over the Indy goaltender, all-star Marcoux, who was pulled after stopping only 25 of 31 shots in Fort Wayne’s 6-4 victory Friday in Indianapolis.
The other big play of the first period came from Fort Wayne’s goalie, Houser, who stopped a breakaway by Josh Shalla, certainly the biggest of Indy’s Komet killers.
Houser stopped seven shots from point-blank range during an Indy power play early in the second period – Jason Binkley was in the penalty box for cross-checking – but Fort Wayne maintained its 1-0 lead.
Marcoux foiled Komets captain Jamie Schaafsma’s breakaway attempt at 8:24 and another breakaway, by Gabriel Desjardins, at 14:46.
Indy’s Cam Reid tied it at 1 off a redirection at 18:20, just after Fort Wayne’s Mason Baptista exchanged slashes with Zach Miskovic and then fought Jack Burton.
Just 24 seconds into the third period, Indy’s Garrett Clarke scored from between the circles at the end of a 3-on-3 rush for a 2-1 Fuel lead.
Indy almost got a two-goal lead at 2:09, when Houser was caught out of position, but defenseman Ryan Culkin used his body to prevent a goal.
Marcoux had yet another terrific save at 5:29, foiling Shawn Szydlowski, who came into the night tied for the ECHL’s scoring lead, on a shot from 20 feet.