Pretty or lucky? Shot wins for K’s
They were probably being coy. Or, maybe they were just being humble.
When Jake Kamrass and Justin Hodgman were asked about the play that resulted in what was likely the Komets’ prettiest goal of the season so far : the one that propelled them to a 2-1 victory over the Kalamazoo Wings on Thursday night at Memorial Coliseum : both chalked it up to good fortune.
“It was a little bit of luck,” said Hodgman, who had taken a Kamrass pass along the boards to get a breakaway on Wings goaltender Jake Hildebrand before dropping a no-look backhand pass to Kamrass for a chip into the top of the net and a 1-0 lead 4:47 into the third period. “Just reading the play, I figured he’d be right behind me. I don’t know if he was yelling or not, but I was hoping he would be. Otherwise, I’d look like an idiot.
“I got lucky, but it turned out looking pretty nice.”
The game in front of 7,419 fans had seen an epic goaltending battle : Hildebrand had 37 saves and Fort Wayne’s Lukas Hafner had 24 : and it was going to take something amazing to break the deadlock.
Hodgman delivered the pass, giving him two goals and 11 points in six games this season against the Wings (14-14-1), and Kamrass finished it off for the Komets (15-12-1).
“We’re starting to build a little chemistry (as linemates). It’s taken some time. I knew he was going to leave it because he didn’t have a full step on that defenseman. I had to bury that and I was just lucky enough to pop it,” said Kamrass. ”(Head coach Gary Graham and assistant Ben Boudreau) keep telling me I need to shoot the puck. I knew he was going to leave it at my feet and so I knew I needed to go upstairs.”
Captain Jamie Schaafsma made it 2-0 during a power play at 9:11 by sending a shot from behind the net that flicked off Hildebrand’s pad and into the net.
Hafner narrowly missed the Komets’ first shutout in almost a year : Michael Houser had the last one against Toledo on Dec. 31, 2017 : because Kalamazoo’s Chris Collins netted the Wings’ only goal off a redirection at 17:31.
“Their goalie was amazing. The amount of scoring chances we had was unbelievable,” Graham said. “We all felt that we had deserved to pop a couple goals and ... we all talked about just sticking to process. When you get frustrated, you start cheating for offense. Against a team like Kalamazoo, we just needed to make sure we stuck to what was working for us and the guys were patient and we got that first one.”
The ECHL will likely review film from the last minute of the game.
Kalamazoo’s Justin Taylor received a misconduct for instigating a fight with Anthony Petruzzelli and Hodgman got a match penalty for a retaliatory baseball bat-like swing of the stick at Tanner Sorenson for cross-checking him into the net at the final buzzer.
“If they look at the video, they’ll see that I barely touched him,” Hodgman said. “He shouldn’t be cross-checking me from behind into the crossbar at the end of the game like that.”
Notes: Komets forward Taylor Crunk served the first half of his two-game suspension for hitting and attempting to fight Toledo’s A.J. Jenks. ... The Komets re-signed defenseman Brandon Lubin and forward Joseph Widmar. ... J.C. Campagna (eye) and Cody Sol (knee) remained out. Trey Phillips was away for personal reasons. ... The referee was Jeff Parker.