The Fort Wayne Komets have reached their goal for the week the hard way.
At the start of the week, the Komets wanted a chance to play Muskegon tonight for first place in the International Hockey League, but first, they had to win two road games to get there. The Komets beat Port Huron 3-2 on Tuesday night and came back to win 4-3 at Flint on Thursday night to set up the showdown. The win moves them into a first-place tie with Muskegon with 25 points. Port Huron is third with 24 and Kalamazoo is fourth with 22.
"It's all on the line," Komets coach Al Sims said. "They've had the better of us so far this year, and it's time for us to step up and end that."
The Lumberjacks are 3-0 against the Komets so far this season, and have the IHL's best home record at 8-2. The Komets have the league's best road record at 7-4 and have won three straight games after Thursday's victory.
Former General Leo Thomas was the star for the Komets with two goals, an assist and a fight as the Komets responded in a chippy game. The Generals' Martin Ondrej was kicked out in the first period for an elbowing major against Fort Wayne rookie Rick Varone. The Komets' P.C. Drouin immediately jumped on Ondrej and hauled him to the ice.
"I think the ref (Jim Hawthorne) made the right call and did what he had to do," Sims said. "So did P.C. who went right after Ondrej. We're getting closer as a team, and guys care about each other. We're starting to come together here."
Drouin also scored his 15th goal of the season to tie him with Muskegon's Luke Stauffacher for the league lead and also extend his point-scoirng streak to seven games. Drouin has four goals and 11 points during the streak. Dominic Osman also scored h is 11th goal in nine games as a Komet, Colin Chaulk had two assists and Tim Haun made 25 saves. The Komets' streak of successful penalty kills came to an end at 35 during the second period.
The Komets' defense once again stepped up in the third period, holding the Generals to just six shots on goal to protect a one-goal lead.