The Journal Gazette
Saturday, November 30, 2019 10:30 pm

Force is strong with K's in OT victory

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Cincinnati’s goaltender, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, may be the Buffalo Sabres’ netminder of the future.

That’s to say, he’s very good.

And he showed it tonight with 34 saves.

However, The Force was strong with the Komets on “Star Wars” Night, as they won 3-2 in overtime on a Brad Morrison backhand after skating out of the corner. The goal came on a power play; Justin Baudry was serving a double-minor for high-sticking Shawn St-Amant.

Cole Kehler stopped 22 shots for the Komets.

It was the fifth time in the last seven games Fort Wayne has gone to overtime.

A crowd of 7,911 was on hand for “Star Wars” Night, and the Komets donned special rebel alliance jerseys that were auctioned off to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Fort Wayne.

But the on-ice officials asked those jerseys to be shelved for the second and third periods because the white backs were too confusing with the Cyclones also wearing white uniforms.

It was the first game back at the Coliseum for defenseman Cody Sol, who wasn’t re-signed after he spent the past five seasons with the Komets. Sol, 28, had started the season with Toledo but was traded to Cincinnati after playing one game with the Walleye. This was his third game against the Komets.

Earlier in the day, the Komets acquired defenseman Taylor Doherty from the Orlando Solar Bears, in exchange for the future considerations Fort Wayne was owed from the Wichita Thunder for the trade of Matt Brassard.

Doherty, 28, was a second-round draft pick of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks in 2009 and has spent much of his career in the American Hockey League. This season, Doherty, 6-foot-7, had one goal and five points in 17 games with Orlando.

He gives the Komets three players of veteran status, along with Shawn Szydlowski and A.J. Jenks, and they can carry a maximum of four. Doherty will join the Komets on Monday, after they face the Kalamazoo Wings 3 p.m. Sunday at Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Forward Matthew Boudens, who had been back from the AHL’s Chicago Wolves for one game, was called back to Chicago on Saturday. He had been scoreless in five games with the Wolves, and he had five goals and seven points in 11 Fort Wayne games.


Fort Wayne’s Brady Shaw opened the scoring 5:30 into the first period when he took a drop pass from St-Amant and snapped it in from 20 feet. But the Cyclones answered 40 seconds later, when Jesse Schultz flicked the puck over sprawled goaltender Cole Kehler.

Kehler had stopped 20 shots in Thursday’s 3-0 victory at the Coliseum over the Wheeling Nailers for Fort Wayne’s first shutout in 23 months.

Luukkonen, came up with a breathtaking save on St-Amant, gloving a shot from point-blank range as he did the splits at 9:34.

The scoreless second period was marked by Puukkonen’s save on a Brad Ross breakaway at 14:45.

The Cyclones took a 2-1 lead when Justin Vaive netted a power-play goal 8:06 into the third period, after Darik Angeli’s pass from behind the net set him up.

Shaquille Merasty, playing his first game with Fort Wayne since being signed out of the lower-level Southern Professional Hockey League, tied it 1:05 later when he was stationed in front of the net to redirect a Markus Phillips blue-line shot.


Notes: The referee was Riley Yerkovich. … Former Komets goalie Michael Houser wasn’t in the Cincinnati lineup because of a lower-body injury. … The Komets played without Chase Stewart, Taylor Ross and Will Petschenig.


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