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Rush goaltender stymies Komets

February 3, 2019

Many spells were cast at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday. All of them were figurative : it was Harry Potter Night : but perhaps there was one that was literal: cast by Rapid City Rush goaltender Tyler Parks on the Komets’ shooters.

Nigh, only once out of 51 shots did the Komets send the puck past Parks in a 2-1 loss in an overtime shootout. That shot came in the first period, when Marco Roy sent the puck from 30 feet out, set up by a nifty Anthony Petruzzelli pass.

“My message after was to keep the positive vibes,” Komets captain Jamie Schaafsma said. “Our play in recent weeks wasn’t where we wanted it and I thought that tonight, the guys came out and we were skating hard all night. We were making plays, getting pucks to the net. You’ve got to give their goalie credit; he played a really good game.”

Fort Wayne’s goalie, Eric Levine, was also solid in stopping 26 shots, including a breakaway save on Darby Llewellyn in overtime. But he was foiled by a Richard Coyne shot from the right circle in the third period.

Ultimately, it came down the Komets’ inability to polish off any of a multitude of scoring chances throughout the night, including one late in the third period that they celebrated being in : it was a Brady Shaw-to-Roy play that was redirected toward the top corner : and was waved off by referee Jacob Rekucki. Though the ECHL doesn’t utilize video review in 23 of its 27 arenas, including the Coliseum, replay showed the puck indeed caromed off the crossbar.

“It’s the same old, ‘We’ve got to find ways to score and find ways to make it more difficult for their goalie,’” Schaafsma said. “But overall, I liked the way we played.”

A sellout crowd of 10,479 : the first one of the season : attended the first Harry Potter Night, as the Komets (22-17-4) wore special jerseys that were auctioned to benefit Fort Wayne Sexual Assault Treatment Center. Schaafsma’s jersey sold for the most, 1,667), Cody Sol’s (1,107).

“We have to take away the positives from this game,” Komets coach Gary Graham said. “I think we deserved a better outcome, but it’s a long season and there are going to be games sometimes that you win that maybe you didn’t deserve to, too. You’ve got to tip your hat to Rapid City. We knew this team well and they’re going to play hard for 60 minutes. ... We’ve just got to bear down on our chances, especially on the power play.”

Both teams were 0 for 5 on power plays. Rapid City (18-24-7) was better in the shootout, going 2 for 2 with tallies from Justin Faryna and Pierre-Luc Mercier, while Fort Wayne was 1  for 3, getting a score from Campagna but misses from Szydlowski and Shaw, as it fell to 1-3-3 in its last seven games.

The Komets’ lineup was bolstered by the return of Jake Kamrass, who had missed four games with an upper-body injury, and Campagna, who returned from Chicago of the American Hockey League.

“I thought we played a really great game. It was a very good team game,” Kamrass said. “Guys were playing for each other and with each other. We attacked as a group of five. We had a lot of scoring opportunities. We just couldn’t capitalize on them. Their goalie played well. But if we play consistently like that every game, we’ll have a better outcome.”

jcohn@jg.net

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