Slap shot in OT does in Komets
No excuses emanated from the Komets’ locker room Friday night, even after bad luck led to a 3-2 overtime loss to the Indy Fuel, and even though they were without their two leading scorers, Justin Hodgman and Jake Kamrass.
Matt Rupert won the game with a shot from the left circle in 3-on-3 overtime, as Indy (20-17-2) snapped a three-game winless streak and pulled within two points of Fort Wayne (21-17-2) for third place in the Central Division.
“I think we’ve got enough horses in the barn here that are willing to put up points,” defenseman Cody Sol said. “Every guy has got to chip away. It’s definitely not easy missing that from the lineup, but you’ve just got play a different game. With any guys we have in the lineup, we’re capable of winning any game.”
On a night the Hanson Brothers from the 1977 hockey movie “Slap Shot” were at Memorial Coliseum signing autographs : a crowd of 8,119 was on hand : it was the player who most looked like a potential Hanson, J.C. Campagna, who contributed a goal and an assist for the Komets.
Campagna, who has long locks but is missing the horn-rimmed glasses held together by tape, had the game’s first goal by taking a no-look pass from Marco Roy and sending a 30-footer into the top of the net 5:45 into the second period.
The Fuel polished off a 2-on-1 rush to tie it at 1 at 7:59 of the third period, when Rupert put a shot through the legs of goalie Lukas Hafner and Ryan Rupert poked the puck into an open net.
That’s when the bad luck came in; a Rupert shot was blocked by Fort Wayne defenseman Oskari Halme but fortuitously landed on the stick of Logan Nelson, who had an empty net to shoot at for a 2-1 lead at 14:51.
Brady Shaw forced overtime for the Komets by netting the rebound of a Campagna shot at 19:45.
“Oh man, I loved the way we played, honestly. It was one of those games where you feel you deserved a better outcome,” Komets coach Gary Graham said.
Hodgman missed a fourth straight game with a hand injury. He is questionable to play Sunday at Toledo but should be available Monday there for the All-Star Classic, in which he’ll captain the Western Conference team in a 3-on-3 tournament.
Kamrass suffered an upper-body injury Wednesday.
“We’re not going to make any excuses. We’ve been dealing with a skeleton crew the last couple of games,” Graham said.
“We’ve been down some guys and we were banged up again in the third period tonight, but I thought the scoring chances in the slot that we didn’t finish on were the difference in the game.”
Hafner stopped 26 shots for the Komets, who wore replica Charlestown Chiefs jerseys from “Slap Shot” that were auctioned off to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne and the Blue Bucket Brigade.
Indy’s Matt Tomkins had 36 saves.
Notes: Captain Jamie Schaafsma’s jersey sold for the most, 919. Taylor Crunk’s for $808. ... The Komets played without Jordan Sims (hip), Trey Phillips (family leave) and Crunk, who completed his four-game suspension for punching Indy’s Radovan Bondra.