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Fucale lifts K’s past former team

November 23, 2018

Before any questions had been asked, Zach Fucale offered a response: “That one really feels good.”

The Komets’ goaltender had just turned in arguably his best performance of the season, stopping 27 shots in a 3-2 victory over the Brampton Beast on Thursday. His night included a stop of a Ryan Scarfo breakaway midway through the third period that might have tied the Bob Chase Memorial Thanksgiving Game in front of 7,865 fans at Memorial Coliseum.

Fucale, the only player the Komets have received from the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, helped upend his former team as Fort Wayne got a 2-for-5 showing from its power play and endured what might have been two missed penalty-shot calls by referee Cameron Fleming.

“I’ll be straight up with you, I’ll be honest, I don’t feel like I was contributing as much as I could have,” Fucale said. “There was one game I was really mad about. At the end of the day, I thought I was doing some good actions and I knew it would turn around. Tonight was a good example of just sticking to my game instead of just changing it, you know what I’m saying? I trusted my game and that’s why I felt good in the last one and today. I feel like I can just build off this.

“It was a great team win. It’s one win. I can’t get too satisfied. I want to get some more here and I want to help the team.”

Fucale is now 2-4-0 with a 3.80 goals-against average and a .854 save percentage for the Komets (6-8-0).

“It’s big for him to come back and get into the net (like this). He had a good start to the season and we haven’t been very good in front of him in some of his starts,” coach Gary Graham said. “Tonight, I thought the boys blocked a lot of shots and battled, competed in front of the net, and he came up with the big saves when we needed them.”

The first goal of the Chase Memorial Game : to honor the broadcaster who called 63 seasons of Komets hockey : was scored 18 seconds into the second period by J.C. Campagna on a shot from 30 feet out. It was set up by Ryan Lowney, who won a battle for the puck with Brampton’s Jackson Leef, a native of Fort Wayne playing his first game at the Coliseum.

Brampton’s Daniel Ciampini tied it on a shot from the left circle, but Fort Wayne’s Jake Kamrass scored a power-play goal by circumventing the Brampton defense and wristing the puck high on Etiennne Marcoux at 8:52 of the second period Justin Hodgman made it 3-1 by redirecting a Shawn Szydlowski shot at 10:29, after which Brampton’s Jordan Henry scored from the slot.

Marcoux stopped 36 of 39 shots. Brampton (8-7-1) was 0 for 4 on power plays.

Twice, apparent penalty shots went uncalled for the Komets: Anthony Petruzzelli was hooked from behind in the second period and wound up with an interference penalty himself for barreling into Marcoux; and in the third, Kamrass was in the clear and hooked in the face by Henry, who got a minor penalty.

“Really, the mental toughness of our team got tested tonight and that’s what we needed because, frankly, at some points this season we haven’t been a great third-period team,” Graham said.

Note: Phelix Martineau, who had five goals and 10 points in 10 games with the Komets this season, was recalled by Laval of the American Hockey League.

jcohn@jg.net

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