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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

Nagle looks sharp despite sometimes sloppy Komets effort

By Blake Sebring of The News-Sentinel<br /> <br /> Komets goaltender Pat Nagle makes a pad save on Tulsa's Darcy Murphy during the second period Friday night at Memorial Coliseum. Nagle made 32 saves as the Komets won 3-0.
By Blake Sebring of The News-Sentinel

Komets goaltender Pat Nagle makes a pad save on Tulsa's Darcy Murphy during the second period Friday night at Memorial Coliseum. Nagle made 32 saves as the Komets won 3-0.
By Blake Sebring of The News-Sentinel<br />
<br />
Komets defenseman Bobby Shea connects with a right during his first-period fight with Tulsa's Danick Gauthier. 
By Blake Sebring of The News-Sentinel

Komets defenseman Bobby Shea connects with a right during his first-period fight with Tulsa's Danick Gauthier. 
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Goaltender made 32 saves in 3-0 shutout of Tulsa

Friday, March 17, 2017 09:25 pm
Since coming back Feb. 3 from a high-ankle sprain that tripped him up for three months, Komets goaltender Pat Nagle has sometimes looked solid and other nights he's struggled to fight off the puck. Gradually, his game has been improving, which is OK considering there are three weeks left until the postseason starts. There's no reason to push him to peak now. Friday night was was one of his better nights, particularly during the second period when his teammates abandoned him because of sloppy play, horrible turnovers and a lack of battling for loose pucks. His teammates didn't look very good Friday night, but Nagle did on his way to a 32-save performance in a 3-0 win over Tulsa, and sometimes it's a goaltender's job of hold everything together.

"He looks good. I think he's on the way," Komets coach Gary Graham said. "Both goalies are going to get a lot of games here down the stretch. Our schedule has been a little bit weird the last few weeks to try to get either one in kind of a groove, so I've been trying to keep them both involved. Now down the stretch I think you're start seeing one guy get a 2-to-1, 3-to-1 ratio."

As well as Garrett Bartus had played this season — going 18-6-1 with a .907 save percentage and a 2.63 goals against average — that probably needs to be Nagle if the Komets are going to challenge for the ECHL's Kelly Cup. As Graham said, Nagle has the experience and he carried the Komets on a deep run last year. He also has the ability to win a game when his teammates aren't playing their best even in the postseason. At the very least, he gives them a chnace when sometimes they may not deserve it.

Nagle has done well since his return with a 7.-1-3 record, a 2.33 goals against average and .913 save percentage. Pretty good numbers, but he's still working on the consistency. He always talks about making incremental progress, and as long as he's moving forward everything is fine.

"I'm just trying to build off every game, get better every game," he said. "There still a lot of rust to get rid of before playoffs."

But it's starting to loosen up and fall to the side. He was sharp in every period Friday night, stopping a couple Oilers' breakaways, helping hold them scoreless on six power-play chances and generally erasing his teammates' mistakes. When he's on, he can control the whole game from his crease, slowing the pace when necessary, giving his teammates confidence and putting pressure on opponents to try perfect shots. 

"He's the type of guy that you want to see him really take the bull by the horns and runs with this thing," Graham said. "It's still going to be a competition between the two, but obviously you saw how well he played tonight and I would expect to see the same on Sunday."

Yes, Nagle will start Sunday in Brampton which has been a very tough place for the Komets to play this season. It's just the place for him to step up again and help push his team toward a strong finish. When he's steady like he was Friday night, everyone else in an orange sweater seems to relax and play better.

This column is the commentary of the writer and does not reflect the views or opinions of The News-Sentinel. Email Blake Sebring at bsebring@news-sentinel.com. 

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