FORT WAYNE, IN — The Fort Wayne Komets have begun a winning streak, and it’s only the second night of the season. This time, the Mallards were unable to spoil the Indiana team’s opening night as had happened when the roles were reversed the night before. However, the score was halved that of what it was on Friday, the Mallards losing 3-1.
Connor Brown and Nelson Gadoury made their Mallards debuts last night, replacing Grant Arnold and Nathan Todd. Kevin Gibson was also scratched, and Kyle Follmer was his replacement on the blueline. CJ Motte made his first Mallards start, though his first appearance was on Friday night in relief of Adam Vay.
The game began on a sour note for the Mallards just three minutes in, as Brady Vail fired a puck from around 50 feet out that got by Motte to give the Komets a 1-0 lead. Kyle Thomas, who had assisted on one of the six Fort Wayne goals the night before, assisted on the opening goal, as well as Garrett Thompson.
Alex Gudbranson and Taylor Crunk dropped the gloves just under halfway through the first period in what would be the first of three fights between the teams. Four minutes later, Sam Warning would put the Mallards on the board, with help from Justin Kovacs and Alex Petan. The Warning-Kovacs-Petan line seems to be a good line so far, having scored twice in as many nights. Coach Terry Ruskowski will likely keep the line together moving into the second week of the season.
Just six seconds after Follmer entered the box for a holding call, the Komets put themselves back in the lead with a Mike Cazzola goal.
Early in the second period Jack Nevins engaged in his second fight in two nights, squaring up with the former Mallard Mason Baptista. Ten minutes later, Mike Monfredo would battle with Cody Sol.
During a sequence of four-on-four hockey late in the second period after Will Weber entered the sin bin for a delay of game call and Michael Parks earned an interference call 15 seconds apart, Vail scored his second goal of the night to seal the Komets’ win.
The Mallards will have to continue learning to gel on the fly, and hopefully they can do so before next Friday, when they face the Rapid City Rush in South Dakota at 8 pm Central time.