Cooper Records Four Points to Lead Komets Past Heartlanders
FORT WAYNE, IN – Oliver Cooper scored two goals and added two assists to help lead the Fort Wayne Komets to a 5-2 victory over the Iowa Heartlanders on Sunday. Fort Wayne took a 3-1 lead in the first period, and dominated from there, dropping Iowa to 0-3-2 in their last five. Ryan Wheeler and Zach White scored goals for the Heartlanders.
The Komets jumped on top 5:10 into the contest when Cooper scored his first goal of the game. Matt Alvaro carried the puck behind the net, coming to the opposite side looking like he was going to move up along the boards, but instead fed a perfect pass across to the goal mouth. There, Cooper redirected the puck in for his 14th goal of the season.
Just 36 seconds later, Sean Boudrias extended the lead to two with his 26th goal of the season. Boudrias stole the puck along the boards inside the Iowa zone, feeding it to Garrett Van Wyhe near the side of the goal. He dished the puck back to Mark Rassell, who fired a shot that Hunter Jones saved, but no one cleared out Boudrias, who put in the rebound to make it 2-0.
With just over nine minutes left in the first period, White scored his 13th goal of the season to cut the deficit to one. Alec Broetzman blocked a clearing attempt at the blueline, dishing along the boards to Tommy Parran behind the net. Parran waited for White to move down the slot, before feeding the puck out in front where White wristed a shot over the shoulder of former Iowa goaltender Corbin Kaczperski.
The Heartlanders were back in the contest, but Anthony Petruzzelli restored the two-goal advantage with 6:38 left in the period. Cooper fed the puck across the slot to Petruzzelli, who was just inside the right face-off circle. Petruzzelli had a lot of room and a lot of time, slowing himself down before lifting a wrist shot over the shoulder of Jones on the short side for his 22nd tally of the year.
The Komets extended their lead to three when Cooper scored his second goal of the contest 14:26 into the second. With Fort Wayne on the power-play, Drake Rymsha took a shot from the point that Jones saved. The puck came right to Adam Brubacher, who fired it back on net. Once again, Jones made a fine saved, but the puck was loose just outside the crease and no one was able to find it. Cooper finally detected the puck underneath the skates of an Iowa defenseman, knocking it past Jones to make it 4-1.
At 10:12 of the third, Jacob Graves added a power-play goal to extend the lead to four. Cooper’s shot with saved, but Graves knocked in the rebound for his first goal of the season. For Cooper, it was his fourth point of the night.
What to: 48 left in the game, Wheeler scored his first goal of the season, cutting the deficit to three. However, the Heartlanders would get no closer.
Iowa was outshot in the contest, 34-24. Kaczperski made 22 saves to lead Fort Wayne while Jones finished with 29 saves for Iowa.
The Iowa Heartlanders (13-29-13) return home to welcome the Cincinnati Cyclones (34-12-9) on Wednesday. Cincinnati enters this contest is one of the hottest teams in the league, going 10-0-2 over their last 12 games. The puck drops at 7:05.
by Robert Pannier