As the Komets' two-time Most Valuable Player, Shawn Szydlowski is pretty much Fort Wayne's superhero, but Tuesday night he tried something even Batman would have said, "No way, can't happen."
After Friday's humiliating 6-1 loss to Brampton when they attempted only 12 shots on goal, the Komets crawled back from Christmas break and trailed the last-place Indy Fuel 6-2 halfway through the second period. Every bounce, every rebound, everything was going Indy's way as Josh Shalla scored four goals in the first 21 minutes.
"When they scored the sixth goal, everyone looked at each other like, `Really? We're doing this again?'" Szydlowski said. "Honestly, nobody in this locker room or on the bench felt we were going to lose this game like that. There was a lot of confidence, we played for each other and that's all that matters."
That attitude is good because it's definitely not what the 6,411 Memorial Coliseum fans were thinking, especially after Friday.
But after Brady Vail and Will Weber scored before the end of the period, the Komets still had a chance. During the intermission, Komets coach Gary Graham told the locker room, "We have one period to redeem ourselves."
Then the line of Mike Cazzola, Mike Embach and Szydlowski took over. Embach drove the net for a Cazzola backhand pass to cut the lead to one, and then Szydlowski threw a prayer on net from the blue line that bounced off the Indy goaltender's and off a defenseman's leg and in.
He was just getting started. After Brady Vail pulled up in the zone to let the line change catch up, he threw the puck cross-ice to Szydlowski. The puck bounced off an Indy defender which allowed Szydlowski to grab it and skate past, but he was too wide and too deep to go for a forehand or even a backhand.
"I was just turned toward the corner so I knew I couldn't really put a shot on net, so I had to do whatever," he said. "Somehow, my first instinct was to put the puck between my legs, but I was just really trying to put the puck to the net because I knew we had guys going there."
As his momentum carried him toward the goal line in the corner, Szydlowski pulled the puck and his stick through his legs and fired a wrist shot from behind his right leg from about 12 feet out. The shot surprised Indy goaltender Jake Hildebrand so much it slipped between his left arm and and his body and into the back of the net.
Before the next faceoff, Shalla skated up to Szydlowski and said, "You put that between your legs, didn't you?"
Yes, he really did. It's the kind of trick shot every Canadian kid tries on the pond, counting down the final seconds in their head just like Indiana kids do with basketballs in the driveway.
"I never think of doing it unless it's a situation where you are turned towards the corner so it actually made sense so you don't have to turn and waste a whole second," Szydlowski said. "When you do it and it doesn't go in, you feel like an idiot. Luckily, it got on net and somehow went in."
Then he scored into an open net for his fourth goal of the night as the Komets won 8-6. It's the second time in less than a month that the Komets have rallied from a four-goal deficit to win, something they had done previously only four times in their 65-year history.
"It's good for us to kind of have these games where we know if we stick with it and don't panic and or stop playing the right way and get away from our systems that we can get ourselves back in the game," captain Jamie Schaafsma said. "We're definitely going to start studying film and our systems and start tightening up those areas. We need to get refocused."
As Szydlowski said, "We want to be up the team that is up 6-2 and finishes it 6-2 instead of making it so interesting."
Even for superheroes, comebacks from sure defeat are not ideal.
For more on the Komets, follow Blake Sebring on Twitter at @blakesebring, at his blog tailingthekomets.com and on Facebook at Blake Sebring.