The Komets’ roster seems to change every day. And the quality of their play seems to change every period.
Tonight, goaltender Dylan Ferguson held them in it early and the offense then rallied for four straight goals and the 4-2 victory over the Florida Everblades in front of 7,686 fans at Memorial Coliseum.
Taylor Ross gave Fort Wayne a 3-2 lead by getting to the rebound of a Brady Shaw shot and sneaking it inside the right post with a forehand shot that banked off the goalie from a seemingly impossible angle 14:22 into the third period.
Ferguson stopped 26 shots for the Komets (4-2-1), who are on a 2-0-1 run.
The Komets now have a whopping nine players affiliated with NHL or American Hockey League teams – perhaps the most in their 68 years of play, certainly the most since they dropped to the Double-A level of hockey in 1999 – through the affiliation with the Vegas Golden Knights and the less-formal working agreement with the Los Angeles Kings.
Before the game, the Komets received Brayden Pachal, a defenseman, and Jermaine Loewen, a forward, from Vegas. Loewen is the first Jamaican-born player to be drafted by an NHL team. The Komets already had Ferguson from the Golden Knights. From the Kings or their American Hockey League affiliate, the Ontario Reign, the Komets have Brad Morrison (injured), Stephen Baylis, Markus Phillips, Max Gottlieb, Mason Bergh and goalie Matthew Villalta.
The goaltending at both ends was superb in the first period, during which Fort Wayne outshot Florida 17-12. Florida’s Cam Johnson (36 saves) stopped early attempts from point-blank range by Shawn St-Amant, Ross, Brett McKenzie and A.J. Jenks, and Ferguson foiled close-range shots from Adam Smith and Hunter Garlent.
Florida’s Michael Downing had the period’s only goal, on a wrister from the left circle at 9:46, after Michael Huntebrinker set up him with a pass from the far boards. After scoring the first goal in each of their first five games, the Komets have fallen behind early in back-to-back games.
Ferguson made a flurry of acrobatic saves early in the second period but didn’t get much help, setting up Florida’s Patrick McCarron for a shot from the left circle and a 2-0 lead at 3:54.
The Komets turned the tables on the Everblades (4-3-0) by forcing a turnover in the offensive zone, getting a shot from the point by Gottlieb and then a goal off the rebound from Shaw at 9:06. And Jenks tied it at 2 by redirecting a Pachal shot as he fell to the ice during a battle in front of the net at 17:52.
After Ross’ goal, Bergh had an empty netter to make it 4-2 and give him at least a point in all seven games this season.
(Video highlights are above.)
Notes: The referee was Steven Sailor. … The Komets wore special jerseys for Military Appreciation Weekend that will be donned again 7:30 p.m. Saturday, against the Indy Fuel, and are being auctioned off to benefit Honor Flight. … There were two fights in the second period with Fort Wayne’s Matthew Boudens and McKenzie taking on, respectively, Downing and Ben Massella. … The Komets have played six of their seven games at the Coliseum, but they are at Toledo, Ohio, 5:15 p.m. Sunday.