Komets beat Fuel to win third straight

Gabriel Desjardins and Indy's Matt Rupert battle for the puck. (Photos courtesy of Whiteshark Photography)
Fort Wayne's Phil Bushbacher and Indy's Nathan Noel chase down the puck during the first period. (Photos courtesy of Whiteshark Photography)
Indy's Matt Rupert tangles with Fort Wayne's Dennis Kravchenko along the boards in the first period Friday night. (Photos courtesy of Whiteshark Photography)

The 4-2 final score sounds like a blowout, but the Fort Wayne Komets dominated the third period Friday night to beat the Indy Fuel in a close road game.

By out-shooting the Fuel 17-3 and scoring three goals during the third period, the Komets won their third game in a row. The game was tied 1-1 with eight minutes left before the Komets broke out their offense. First, off a between-the-legs pass from Jamie Schaafsma, Gabriel Desjardins scored his seventh goal in five games. Then Shawn Szydlowski set up Ryan Culkin off an odd-man rush and then Cody Sol ripped a long blast to give the Komets three goals in less than six minutes.

The Komets finished with a season-high 51 shots led by Desjardins with six and Mason Baptista and Ryan Lowney with five each. Fort Wayne goaltender Garrett Bartus made 20 saves for the victory. Mason Baptista scored his first goal of the season to open the Komets’ scoring. Jason Binkley and Schaafsma each had two assists. Every Komet except defenseman Curtis Leonard had at least one shot on goal, and everyone except Taylor Crunk had at least two shots.

Fuel goaltender Etienne Marcoux lost despite making 47 saves. The Komets have won nine of their last 10 games against the Fuel. They are 24-5-3 overall against the Fuel over the past four seasons, including 12-0-3 at Memorial Coliseum.

The Komets, who were playing without forward Louick Marcotte because of an injury suffered during Thursday’s game, lost center Dennis Kravcenko during the second period to an unspecified injury. Before the game, the Komets signed forward Phil Bushbacher from Pensacola of the Southern Professional Hockey League. He played eight games with the Komets in 2013-14 and was part of the team’s training camp in October.

Fort Wayne returns home to host Cincinnati at 7:30 p.m. The Cyclones beat Wheeling 3-1 on Friday to remain one point ahead of the Komets for third place in the ECHL’s Central Division. Both teams gained two points on second-place Kansas City which lost 5-2 to Kalamazoo to end a six-game winning streak. First-place Toledo beat Worcester 4-1.