The Komets’ defensive corps is revamped : the only returning players are Ryan Lowney, Cody Sol and Jason Binkley : and Lowney is sure to be a big part of that.

He certainly was Saturday, accruing a goal and an assist in the 6-3 victory over the Indy Fuel at Memorial Coliseum that completed a sweep of a preseason home-and-home exhibition series.

“Obviously I know how everything rolls here, what the situation is and how the coaches are and how the players are,” said Lowney, who’s entering his third season with the Komets. “I’m just trying to play my game, help offensively when I can and keep the pucks out of the net, help the goalie out. I want to play an all-around, two-way game.”

With the likes of Ryan Culkin and Bobby Shea now gone, Lowney will be expected to have many nights like Saturday, when he whistled a shot from the blue line into the net, and assisted on a power-play goal by rookie Kevin Miller.

Lowney has eight goals and 32 points in 74 regular-season games, and two goals and nine points in 26 playoff games with the Komets, who lost to eventual-champion Colorado in overtime of Game 7 of the Western Conference finals last season.

He’s looking forward to having more responsibility on his shoulders with Fort Wayne.

“I’m welcoming it,” he said. “I’m excited for it. I’m hoping we succeed and I’m hoping I do, too.”

The Komets open their 67th regular season 7:30 p.m. Friday at Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis against the Fuel.

The Fort Wayne roster, currently at 27 players, will be reduced to about 20 before the season starts. The Komets released Trent Fox, Brandon Lubin, Nicholas Kuqali, Jarret Kup and Brant Sherwood before upending the Fuel.

Goalie Zach Fucale, assigned to Fort Wayne by the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, stopped 24 of 27 shots. Indy’s Jason Pawlowski stopped 14 of 18 and Eric Levine turned away 15 of 16.

Justin Hodgman, who cemented Friday’s 3-2 victory in an overtime shootout, opened the scoring in this one. He also assisted on a Chase Phelps goal with a nifty backhand pass from behind the net. But Hodgman left the game after he was high-sticked in the second period by Indy’s Josh McArdle.

Fort Wayne got goals from rookies Phelps, who is from Boston University, on the one-timer in the slot; Brandon Morley, who is from Alaska-Fairbanks, on a slap shot from the left circle; and Miller, who is from Ohio State, when he swept in the rebound of Lowney’s shot.

“There were a lot of guys who all of a sudden are making things a lot more difficult around here,” Komets coach Gary Graham said of roster cuts. “The coaching staff will meet with (general manager) David Franke and we’ll see where we’re all at. I thought the training camp week was a great success.

“We saw a lot of growth from guys in a short period of time. With so many new guys, and a group that wants to grow and learn a get better, I saw a lot of positives this week. Now we’ve got the tough task of shaving this roster.”

Notes: The Komets got an empty-net goal from Marco Roy. … Fort Wayne’s Cody Sol fought Indy’s Anthony Collins and Fort Wayne’s Thomas Ebbing fought Matt Rupert.

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Source: The Associated Press

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