The Komets may have lost 2-1 to the Toledo Walleye in an overtime shootout at Memorial Coliseum today, but they came away with a lot of positives.
They took three of a possible four points this week while playing the top two teams in the division, having defeated the Cincinnati Cyclones 4-1 on Friday. They didn’t allow an even-strength goal this weekend either. Goaltender Cole Kehler, who stopped 42 shots today, was terrific on back-to-back nights.
“That’s two great nights for our team,” Kehler said. “We’re playing two, tough divisional opponents. Beating Cincinnati in their building, that’s a big accomplishment for us as a group. We really won that game as a team. We come out tonight and I thought we were even better. It just didn’t go our way. At the end of the day, guys are just going the right things and I think we’re feeling pretty good in this room still.”
Video highlights from the game are above.
The only player who outshined Kehler today was Toledo’s netminder, Billy Christopoulos, who also stopped 42 shots. In the best-of-3 shootout, Christopoulos foiled A.J. Jenks and Brady Shaw, while Kehler allowed goals to Troy Loggins and Mark Auk.
The Komets (19-14-6) remain winless against the Walleye (21-12-4) this season at 0-4-1.
The Komets, who play their next seven games on the road, are off until Friday when they take on the Indy Fuel.
However, the ECHL All-Star Classic will be Wednesday in Wichita, Kansas. The Komets’ all-star representative, forward Shawn St-Amant, will not be able to participate because of an upper-body injury, team president Michael Franke confirmed.
There are no plans to add an alternate Komets player, Franke said, though that could change depending on injuries around the ECHL this weekend. St-Amant, who has 14 goals and 25 points in 22 games, has missed 11 straight games, but he could be bac in the lineup next weekend.
“I’m extremely proud of the effort,” Fort Wayne coach Ben Boudreau said. “This group is really coming along. We’re learning to defend and are all building each other up. There are a lot of positive signs going forward here.”
While the Komets have been in 11 overtime games, winning five of them, this was their first shootout of the season.
Kehler was forced into making 77 saves on 79 shots this week, and that may seem concerning, but it’s a product of a change in approach Fort Wayne has taken defensively lately. They knew they weren’t giving their goalies enough help, so they’ve focused on keeping the puck away from the goalies and the result has been a lot of perimeter shots for opposing teams.
And you cannot argue the Komets were without a plethora of quality offensive chances of their own tonight. Were it not for Charle-Edouard D’Astous diving to stop a Shawn Szydlowski shot late, the game would have likely gone Fort Wayne’s way. And both goalies stopped multiple breakaways.