FORT WAYNE, IN – The Fort Wayne Komets used great goaltending and opportunistic offense to defeat the Quad City Mallards 3-1 on Saturday in Fort Wayne. The Mallards were trying to build on two recent wins over the Rapid City Rush, after a tough six-game losing streak prior to that.
The Mallards played an excellent first period. They created several great scoring chances and out-shot the Komets 16-3. Komets goalie Pat Nagle was even better in net, though. On one of the Mallards’ best possessions, it was the Komets that ended up scoring. The Mallards peppered Nagle with shots, and got rebound chances as well. Nagle made at least five saves in the sequence. After the last save, a Mallards’ defenseman was caught cheating towards the net, and it led to a 2-on-1 break the other way. Troy Bourke — who was Bourke’s first game in the ECHL — scored on a pass from Alex Belzile to put the Komets up 1-0. The Komets’ defense got better as the game went on, but escaping the first period with a 1-0 lead despite the lop-sided shot totals may have determined the outcome of the game.
The second period was much more evenly matched. The Komets got their second goal at the 11:07 mark. This time it was Belzile scoring on a pass from Bourke. He has played 76 games the past two seasons in the AHL. He was assigned to the Komets from the San Antonio Rampage yesterday.
Brady Brassart finally got the Mallards on the scoreboard about six minutes later. Kevin Henderson and Matt Carey had the assists on the goal. With about six minutes left in the second period, the Mallards had a great opportunity to tie the game. Jordan Southorn and Cody Sol were each called for roughing 21 seconds apart, giving the Mallards 1:39 of five-on-three time. The Mallards had several great chances but Nagle once again came up big. The Komets led 2-1 heading into the third period.
The Komets offense got going in the third period. Brody Hoffman made a couple spectacular saves to keep the deficit at 2-1. The Komets also had two goals waved off early in the period. The first was waved off because a Komets player was in contact with Hoffman. The second goal was waved off because the net was knocked off before the puck went in. Finally, Mike Embach got the third goal for the Komets on another 2-on-1 break. Again the transition was set up by a save by Nagle.
The Mallards would get one more chance to get back in the game with about five minutes to play in regulation, when Sol was called for roughing again. He also earned a 10 minute misconduct for continuing the altercation. The Komets would kill the penalty and also keep the Mallards off the scoreboard the rest of the way hold on for a 3-1 win.
The loss kept the Mallards winless in their last six road games, and the Flock remain part of a five-team race for the final three playoff spots in the Western Conference.
Next, the Mallards play the Tulsa Oilers on Friday and Saturday in Tulsa.