The Journal Gazette
Thursday, December 02, 2021 1:00 am

K's put makeshift lineup on ice, struggle offensively

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

At Memorial Coliseum, the Komets are a strong 5-1-1. On the road, they've faced more obstacles and are 4-4-1 – including Wednesday's 4-1 loss to the Indy Fuel in front of 1,524 fans at Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis.

The good news is that the defending champion Komets play nine of their next 11 games at home beginning Friday against the expansion Iowa Heartlanders.

The Komets remain decimated by injuries, call-ups and now positive COVID-19 tests. The Komets (9-5-2) played with eight defensemen – two more than normal – and eight forwards Wednesday.

“You can tell we're not creating offense,” coach Ben Boudreau said. “It's the fourth game in a row we've played with less than 10 forwards. I'm not trying to make excuses, but it's starting to show on the scoreboard. Our power play is struggling. We're not generating enough offense, and we're asking a lot of our top guys to play a lot of tough minutes. It's tough right now.

“But at the same time, when you are struggling and not scoring goals, you can't pass up shots like we did in the second period. We had glorious opportunities to score and we passed on them for better opportunities that didn't even end up with a shot on net, so that bit us in the rear end.”

Jiri Patera was in net for the Komets – he stopped 25 of 28 shots – after Samuel Harvey tested positive for COVID-19. Consequently, the Komets signed Fort Wayne native Alex Zion, who has served as an emergency backup for the team multiple times dating to 2015. Help is on the way as the Komets called up goalie Bailey Brkin from Quad City of the Single-A Southern Professional Hockey League.

Also out because they either tested positive for COVID-19 or were a close contact were Connor Jones, Matthew Barnaby, Chays Ruddy, assistant coach Olivier Legault and equipment manager Skylar Garver. But forward Shawn Boudrias, who had Fort Wayne's goal, was back after missing six games with a groin injury, and defenseman Blake Siebenaler had returned from Belleville of the higher-level American Hockey League.

For Indy (5-9-2), Cale Morris stopped 29 of 30 shots.

“We've got a lot of bodies that are capable here,” Komets forward Anthony Petruzzelli said. “Right now, we've just got to figure out a way to score. That's on us as players. We've got to do the simple things like just shoot pucks. Eventually those things are going to start going in the net and that'll make the difference in the end.”

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