K’s sweep preseason series
The best thing a rookie can do to set himself apart in the preseason is finish off scoring chances.
Brandon Morley, Chase Phelps and Kevin Miller did that tonight at Memorial Coliseum, in a 6-3 victory over the Indy Fuel that polished off back-to-back victories in a home-and-home preseason series.
(Video highlights are above.)
The Komets will open their 67th regular season 7:30 p.m. Friday at Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis against the Fuel and then face the Cincinnati Cyclones at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Before then, they’ll have to get their roster down to about 20 players. Before today’s game they took it down to 27 by releasing Trent Fox, Brandon Lubin, Nicholas Kuqali, Jarret Kup and Brant Sherwood, leaving them with 16 forwards, eight defensemen and three goaltenders.
Zach Fucale, who was assigned by the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, got the start in net and faced a mere three shots in the first period as Fort Wayne took a 3-0 lead.
The Komets opened the scoring at 4:23 after a shot by defenseman Oskari Halme from the left circle was stopped by goaltender Jason Pawlowski. Fort Wayne’s Justin Hodgman was there to power his way through a crowd and push the rebound into the net, a night after Hodgman’s goal in an overtime shootout cemented a 3-2 Komets victory at Indianapolis.
The second goal came off a nifty shot from the left circle by Morley, a rookie out of Alaska-Fairbanks, that beat Pawlowski over the shoulder at 16:50.
And Hodgman set up the third goal at 18:19 when he circled the net and sent a backhand pass to Phelps, a rookie from Boston University, who one-timed it into the net at 18:19, shortly before a fight between Fort Wayne’s Cody Sol and Indy’s Anthony Collins.
Ryan Lowney netted a blue-line shot to put the Komets up 4-0 in the second period, after which Indy’s Kevin Dufour scored at the end of a 2-on-0 rush and Fort Wayne’s Thomas Ebbing fought Ryan Rupert.
A goal by Indy’s Robert Powers was answered by Miller during a power play : Fucale had left the ice during a delayed penalty for a 6-on-4 advantage : and Miller, who is out of Ohio State, put in the rebound of a Lowney shot to make it 5-2.
Marco Roy had a late empty-net goal for the Komets.
Fucale finished with 24 saves.
Note: The teams did play a 3-on-3 overtime for practice and Indy got a goal from Johnny McInnis.