Fort Wayne Komets Open Defence Of Title With Comeback Win

On a night where the Fort Wayne Komets honoured the defending Kelly Cup Champion team, it took a two-goal comeback to open the season on the right foot with a 4-3 victory over the Wheeling Nailers.

Like any celebratory night, the Komets struggled through a rough opening period, only to settle in and battle to tie the game heading into the third period. It was then where they played a strong 20 minutes and successfully managed to score the game winner. New captain Matthew Boudens scored a pair of goals in the Fort Wayne victory.

“Tonight shows what kind of guys we have the locker room,” the centreman said. “We got out legs under us and got better as the game went on.”

Wheeling scored first shorthanded with just 4:38 gone in the opening period. Nick Hutchison scored on a breakaway on the game’s opening shot, which gave the visiting Nailers the early 1-0 lead.

Ten minutes later, the Komets managed to tie up the game when Stephen Harper scored on a power play, knocking the puck off Wheeling netminder Joe Murdaca. Helpers went to Boudens and Shawn Boudrias, pulling the home team even with 6:51 left in the opening frame.

As the clock was winding down, a great save by Jiri Patera was quickly recovered and knocked into the net by Sean Josling unassisted, doing so with 8.1 seconds left in the period, sending the Nailers up 2-1 after one.

Wheeling tacked on to their lead early in the second frame, scoring just 90 seconds into the period, as Patrick Watling fired the puck past Patera to increase their lead to 3-1.

From that point, the Nailers offence could not respond any further. Fort Wayne’s defence settled in, allowing them to begin their comeback. The Komets scored at 8:32 when Boudens punched one in around the net, with the assist being credited to Will Graber.

Just five minutes later, Fort Wayne evened the score when Matthew Boudens struck home his second of the game. The Pembroke, ON native had a breakaway and out skated the defence for a shot past Murdaca, knotting the game up at three apiece.

The final period belonged to the Komets. They withstood numerous chances put on net by the Nailers, and 12:36 into the third, Oliver Cooper tallied one of his own, as the puck headed down toward his teammate and slipped through, finding Cooper there, who was well positioned to finish it off.

“We just played it the right way and took a shot on net,” the forward said. “We built off of last year…built off the confidence.”

Both teams finished with 28 shots on goal, as the Komets sent their fans home happy with a comeback victory they were used to last season.

Fort Wayne looks to add to the win column on Saturday night, as they visit the Kalamazoo Wings at 7:00pmET.

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