FORT WAYNE, IN — Winning pretty sometimes isn’t an option. Mason Baptista and the Komets did the dirty work in a 4-2 victory over the Cincinnati Cyclones on Friday night.
Baptista notched a pair of goals in the second period to help Fort Wayne improve to 22-11-4 on the year.
At the 8:35 mark of the frame, Baptista deflected a Will Weber shot to open the scoring. Cincinnati’s Colin Mulvey countered just 35 seconds later, but Baptista redirected a Jason Binkley shot for a power-play goal to give the Komets a 2-1 edge.
Though neither goal was aesthetically pleasing by any measure, the ugly goals were exactly what Fort Wayne needed in a game filled with chances but few goals.
“When things aren’t going well, you’ve gotta go with getting to the net,” Baptista said.
The centerman increased his season goal total to seven. Komets coach Gary Graham said he was thrilled to see Baptista’s tireless work pay off.
“I get so happy when he gets rewarded because the kid is probably the hardest-working guy,” Graham said. “Literally, he’s on the ice first. After the practice, he’s working his tail off. He’s a great teammate. He’s supportive when he’s out of the lineup. He’s very coachable.”
Jamie Schaafsma rounded out Fort Wayne’s three-goal second period, and Kyle Follmer pushed the lead to 4-1 midway through the final frame.
Schaafsma’s goal chased Cincinnati goalie Mark Visentin, who managed 20 saves before giving way to Joel Rumpel.
Garrett Bartus turned aside 24 of the 26 shots he faced, including a handful of dangerous looks during the first period. The Cyclones repeatedly fired from bad angles in hopes of a deflection or rebound.
“They were shooting for sticks,” Graham said. “Basically anything that they were first on pucks in the offensive zone, they just threw it to the net front and they had a guy sitting there with a stick on the ice. [Bartus] made a couple good saves on that.”
Cincinnati (17-16-4) added a late goal that finished the scoring. The Cyclones had a power-play chance during the final minute but could not crawl any closer.