One night after one of their worst defensive performances of the season, the Fort Wayne Komets came back with a much stronger effort. The Komets protected a one-goal lead for 33 minutes Wednesday night in a 3-2 win at Dayton.
``We played really well defensively tonight,'' Komets coach Al Sims said. ``We we really focused again our our defense and we completely shut them down in the third period.''
After the Gems beat the Komets 6-4 in Fort Wayne on Tuesday night, the Komets scored first last night when David Hukalo notched a power-play goal late in the first period. The Komets pushed the margin to 2-0 early in the second period on a goal by Kevin Bertram. Then the Gems rallied, tying the score on goals by Jonathon Ornelas and Dan Lapointe. Fort Wayne took a 3-2 lead into the third period on Frankie DeAngelis's fourth goal of the season.
Then the defense took over, out-shooting the Gems 9-6 in the third period to finish with a 43-28 advantage for the game. Goaltender Nick Boucher made 26 saves in his seventh consecutive start. He had lost two games in a row, giving up 10 goals.
``Bouch really needed a game like this to get himself back on track," Sims said. ``Everybody played very well.''
The Komets continued to play without leading scorer Colin Chaulk who missed his second game in a row to attend a family funeral in Toronto. It was also the Komets' fourth game in five nights and a loss would have allowed the Gems to move past Fort Wayne into fourth place in the International Hockey League standings.
Instead, the Komets can climb past Bloomington and into third place with a win at Memorial Coliseum tonight over the PrairieThunder. Forward Rick Varone will come off injured reserve tonight, and goaltender Tim Haun will make his first start after finishing off his seven-game suspension.
The Komets are 16-11-1 on the season and 5-6-1 in December. Hukalo is heating up offensively with nine points in his last 11 games, and Shafranov has six points in his last six games.The Komets are 36-13-3 all-time on New Year's Eve and have won their last seven in a row.
Bloomington at Komets
Faceoff: 7:30 p.m.
Radio: WOWO, 1190-AM