FORT WAYNE, IN – Corbin Kaczperski has been with the Iowa Heartlanders for just a week now, but he is making quite the impression with the team and fans early on, having allowed just one goal in his first ECHL start.
Unfortunately, the goaltender at the other end of the rink was just a little better, as the Heartlanders lost to the Fort Wayne Komets on New Year’s Eve, 1-0. Bailey Brkin had a light evening, stopping all 14 shots he faced to earn his first shutout of the season. It was also the first win of Brkin’s ECHL career.
Fort Wayne was the better of the two teams on Friday, outshooting Iowa in the first period, 10-6. However, Kaczperski was spectacular. In his first ECHL start and just his 11th professional game, the Heartlanders’ netminder looked in complete command of his net.
In the second, the Komets completely dominated play, outshooting the Heartlanders, 15-2. That enabled them to take a 1-0 lead 2:37 into the frame. Iowa was trying to clear the puck out of their zone, but Chays Ruddy was able to hold it in, stopping the clearing attempt along the boards at the point. He fired a wrist shot that Matthew Barnaby tipped by Kaczperski for his fifth goal of the year.
The Komets continued to put the pressure on, recording eight consecutive shots at one point. However, Kaczperski kept his team in the game, making a number of great saves.
One goal proved to be too much for Iowa, however. The team simply could not create scoring chances against Brkin as the Fort Wayne defensemen were taking away passing lanes inside their own zone and the forwards were doing a great job of forechecking and clogging up the neutral zone, making it difficult for the Heartlanders to get the puck into the Komets end.
Fort Wayne outshot Iowa in the third, 8-6. They put 33 shots on Kaczperski, who saved 32. In his two appearances with the team, the Iowa goaltender has now saved 50 of the 52 shots he has faced.
The Iowa Heartlanders (9-15-4) have New Year’s Day off, but will travel to Indianapolis to take on the Indy Fuel (9-14-4) on Sunday. The puck drops at 2 p.m.
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