AP NEWS

K’s score big on Campagna trade

March 20, 2019

J.C. Campagna has netted 33 goals in 53 games since the Komets acquired him from the Allen Americans after the first weekend of the season.

All the Americans got in return were future considerations that turned into rookie goaltender Kyle Hayton, who’s not even with them now. The Komets received a player who is now tied for second in the ECHL in goals, just one behind Allen’s Zach Pochiro.

“I’m happy so far, but I’m not stopping : no way,” Campagna, 25, said of his torrid scoring pace for the Komets (31-21-9), who have won five of their last six games heading into today’s 7:30 p.m. game at Memorial Coliseum against the Kalamazoo Wings (32-27-4).

With 11 games remaining in the regular season, the Komets are in third place in the Central Division, seven points back of second-place Toledo and three points ahead of fourth-place Kalamazoo.

When analyzing the Komets’ offense, defense, special teams and goaltending, the offense has been the most reliable facet : it ranks 14th with 3.23 goals per game : and Campagna has been a big part of that success.

“I’m happy with where I’m at,” he said. “Obviously, any time I score, I feel like I’m doing my job. That’s my role here. But it takes a team to win. I’m just going to keep trying to do that because, the more pucks that go in the net, the better chance we have of winning.”

Brady Shaw is the Komets’ leading point-getter with 23 goals and 55 points in 57 games, but 23 of those games were played with Orlando. With the Komets, Shaw has 10 goals and 30 points in 34 games.

Justin Hodgman has 13 goals and 48 points in 43 games. Jake Kamrass has 17 goals and 47 points in 57 games, including 12 goals and 39 points in 47 games since he came over from South Carolina. And Shawn Szydlowski has 15 goals and 46 points in 49 games.

That he has only 10 assists and 43 points with the Komets, making for an absurd goal-to-assist ratio, doesn’t seem to bother Campagna, who was called up to Chicago of the American Hockey League to play one game this season.

Granted, Campagna’s sniper mentality hasn’t jelled with all of his linemates this season, his best success has come playing alongside Hodgman.

“I’m playing with a guy, Hodgie, who passes unbelievably,” Campagna said. “We kind of have a thing going where he’s passing and I’m not hesitating; I’m shooting. That’s the chemistry we have going right now. He’s easy to play with and a phenomenal passer, and I’ve been the recipient of some of those great plays by him.”

The Komets’ defense has improved lately, as they beat the Brampton Beast 4-1 and 4-2 last weekend, but goalie Zach Fucale was called up to Chicago on Tuesday. He had been in the Fort Wayne net each of the last 12 games. Eric Levine would be the starter tonight if Fucale isn’t back.

As for Campagna, he’s scored on 14.5 percent of his shots with the Komets, has a team-best six game-winning goals and 12 goals on power plays.

His 33 goals match what team MVP Gabriel Desjardins had all of last season. That was the most be a Fort Wayne player since Szydlowski netted 38 in 2014-15.

jcohn@jg.net