It's already been a great week for the Fort Wayne Komets, and there's still one game to go.
The Komets won 3-1 at Muskegon on Friday night to take over first place in the International Hockey League, going from fourth to first with wins in three straight road games.
“It was a do or die week for us,” Komets coach Al Sims said. “We could have gone to fifth place or whatever, but instead we moved six points to the good, and we'll try to finish it off tomorrow night at home. I don't know how much energy we'll have left, but it's been a good week so far.”
The Komets face second-place Port Huron at 7:30 p.m. in Memorial Coliseum.
The Komets improved their league-best road record to 8-4 by holding the highest-scoring team in the league to one goal on Friday night. Nick Boucher made 32 saves and only lost his shutout with 6:37 left in regulation. By then the Komets had a 2-1 lead on goals by Guy Dupuis and Brandon Warner, and Leo Thomas added some insurance with 3:18 left.
Muskegon's power play was held scoreless in eight chances, meaning the Komets have allowed only one power-play goal in the last 45 chances against them.
“They score 4.6 goals per game and we knew the only chance we had was to hold them to three or less,” Sims said. “It was probably Boucher's best game of the year because we had to kill a ton of penalties. Our goal was to get the first goal of the game and make Muskegon play from behind and let our special teams help us win the game.”
Fort Wayne has won four games in a row and has gone 6-3-1 since Sims changed his defensive pairings around by teaming Guy Dupuis with Danko Mironovic, Kevin Bertram with Brian Boulay and Brandon Warner with Jay Holladay. Since then the Komets have allowed only 23 goals.
“The guys are learning to win and win one-goal and close games,” Sims said. “That's a real positive because the pressure doesn't seem to bother us.”
The bad news from Friday night is that the Komets suffered a pair of injuries. Brad MacMillan had his hand run over by a skate and will be out indefinitely, and Sean O'Connor suffered an undetermined injury when he was hooked from behind late in the game.
Sims said Adam Lewis was a healthy scratch Friday night and will return to the lineup tonight, and it's possible Konstantin Shafranov may be able to play a limited role after missing several weeks following hernia surgery.