The Journal Gazette
Saturday, October 05, 2019 10:40 pm

Komets go 2-0-0 in preseason

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

One doesn’t want to read too much into preseason games either way because, frankly, there’s been little time to prepare and teams aren’t using their best lineups.

But if we were to evaluate the Komets’ preseason games – they won both – it looks as if they’ve got a lot of young talent, which will make roster decisions for coach Ben Boudreau and general manager David Franke difficult, and there’s a need to play better with the lead.

For the second straight night, the Komets dominated the bulk of the early action, let their advantage on the scoreboard slip away and cinched it in the end.

This time, they won 6-5 in an overtime shootout, where Brady Shaw netted the winner in the 11th round.

(Video highlights are above.)

The Komets defeated the Nailers 5-4 on Friday, when Fort Wayne gave up four consecutive goals and then scored twice in the final 5:57 to force overtime. They got the winning goal from Shane Bennett in 3-on-3 extra time at Memorial Coliseum.

The Komets, who have a new head coach in Boudreau and an almost entirely new roster, open their 68th regular season Saturday at the Coliseum against the Kalamazoo Wings.

Despite falling behind by a goal early today, the Komets went into the first intermission with a 2-1 lead and 19 of the 21 shots on goal.

Christopher Brown had given the Nailers a 1-0 lead – on their second shot – by skating full speed into the offensive zone and snapping a shot from the left circle past the outstretched glove of goaltender Stephen Dhillon at 9:00. Connor Sanvido, who had three goals in the two intra-squad scrimmages and another in Friday’s preseason game, tied it with a shot from the right circle at 12:28, after a drop pass from Taylor Ross. And Ross made it 2-1 at 16:39, after Wheeling goalie Alex D’Orio stopped Sanvido on back-to-back chances from point-blank range.

The Komets went up 3-1 on their first shot of the second period – a 35-foot snap by Brett McKenzie – and Dhillon came up big at 5:37 by stopping a Ryan Scarfo breakaway on Wheeling’s first shot in 16:37 of game time.

Dhillon stopped 7 of 8 shots before he was replaced, midway through the second period, by Los Angeles Kings prospect Cole Kehler, who is expected to be in a timeshare in the Fort Wayne net with the Vegas Golden Knights’ Dylan Ferguson.

Kehler allowed a goal to Cam Brown at 13:52, after a funny bounce of the puck set up Brown for the shot from the bottom of the right circle.

After Yushiro Hirano tied it at 3 for Wheeling, the Komets responded with an Olivier Galipeau goal on a shot from 50 feet 19:42 into the second period.

Wheeling again tied it on a goal from Brandon Hawkins, who had a hat trick on Friday, and Fort Wayne again answered with a Matthew Boudens spinning shot from 10 feet out. But Hawkins tied it at 5 just 34 seconds later and it went to overtime.

A Hawkins hit on A.J. Jenks with 2 seconds left in overtime – he was called for boarding – put Fort Wayne on a 4-on-3 power play for OT, but the Nailers killed it off.

Scoring in the shootout also were Fort Wayne’s Alan Lyszczarczyk and Wheeling’s Hirano.

Kehler stopped 17 of 21 shots and 10 of 11 shootout attempts. D’Orio stopped 39 of 44 and 9 of 11.


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