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The Journal Gazette

  • Rachel Von Stroup | The Journal Gazette Komets goalie Matthew Villalta is 2-2-1 with a 3.81 goals-against average and an .857 save percentage this season.

Friday, November 08, 2019 1:00 am

Inconsistent play plaguing Komets

Roster in flux: 30 players have suited up

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Komets at Kalamazoo

When: 7 p.m. today and Saturday

Where: Wings Event Center, Kalamazoo, Mich.

Radio: 1190 AM, 107.5 FM

We're 10 games into the Komets' season and there are things that have been established as trends, frustrating as they've been for Fort Wayne fans: myriad personnel changes that have affected the cohesiveness of the team; lackadaisical defense that has proffered goals for opposing teams; and goaltending that has been OK but not enough to steal games.

The result has been a 5-4-1 record heading into 7 p.m. games today and Saturday at Kalamazoo against the Wings (4-1-1).

However, there has been a big positive for coach Ben Boudreau amid all this – his team's propensity for battling right to the end of games.

“We just weren't ready to play (Wednesday) night, which is tough to say since we're 0-3 on the road. We gave up two goals early (in a 5-4 loss to the Cincinnati Cyclones),” Boudreau said. “But again, the trend for our team is that we're going to play right to the buzzer. We found a way to battle back.”

The Komets came back Wednesday to tie the game three times, including at 4-all in the third period following an Olivier Galipeau shot from the blue line, which took advantage of a Taylor Ross screen. But 47 seconds later, Cincinnati's Frank Hora glided into the offensive zone and scored from the right circle.

“Their goalie stops a penalty shot and it's a big momentum situation in the third and they find a way to score a goal. That's the way it's been for us,” Boudreau said.

Fort Wayne's goaltending has been about what the statistics suggest with Matthew Villalta 2-2-1 with a 3.81 goals-against average and a .857 save percentage, and Dylan Ferguson 1-0-0 with a 2.87 GAA and a .892 save percentage. Ferguson, who suffered an injury early Wednesday, won't be available this weekend, and the Komets are looking for a replacement.

The Komets also lost forward Matthew Boudens (five goals, six points in 10 games), as he was called up Thursday to the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League. The Wolves had already pulled Anthony Petruzzelli from Fort Wayne. And Shawn St-Amant is day-to-day with back spasms.

The Komets, who have already used 30 players as players have come and gone through agreements with the Vegas Golden Knights and Los Angeles Kings, traded defenseman Matt Brassard (one goal, two points in three games) to the Wichita Thunder for future considerations Thursday. The Komets had nine defensemen and rank sixth in the ECHL with 4.2 goals per game, so they viewed the offensive-minded Brassard as expendable for returns later in the season.

Perhaps more consistency with the lineup will translate on the ice, where the Komets have been prone to giveaways and allowing odd-man rushes, even if Fort Wayne has dominated opponents in the number of quality scoring chances.

“It's a frustrating thing right now because I still believe we should be winning every single game, but we've found a way to beat ourselves in every single loss here,” Boudreau said. “Enough of the excuses. Now we've got to put together a complete game.”

jcohn@jg.net