FORT WAYNE – In the Komets’ 60 seasons there haven’t been many moments wackier than when Jesse Bennefield’s slapped the face of Evansville’s Nick Schneider, near the end of Saturday’s 7-4 victory at Memorial Coliseum.
It was humorous for the crowd, as the replay was repeatedly shown on the JumboTron. But not all the incidents have been funny.
Here’s a countdown of the odder moments – some funny, some ugly – from the Komets’ scrums through the years.
10) 2009: Goaltender Tim Haun was fed up with Port Huron and motioned to the referee he was going to chop someone. Later, he connected with a baseball swing to the chest of Derek Patrosso, fighting opposing goalie Larry Sterling and getting a seven-game suspension.
9) 1983: Tired of Toledo goaltender Lorne Molleken’s slashing, John Hilworth turned and, with his gloves still on, knocked out the netminder.
8) Saturday: Bennefield wanted to fight Nick Schneider, who wasn’t willing. A few slaps to the face didn’t bait him, but the teams meet again Dec. 30 at Evansville.
7) 1994: Three years after Colin Chin and Mike Stapleton did the same thing, Fort Wayne’s Max Middendorf and Indianapolis’ Sergei Krivokrasov took part in a wild stick fight.
6) 2009: Brad MacMillan of Fort Wayne and Robin Big Snake of Muskegon got a combined 27 games in suspensions, both for leaving the penalty box and shoving officials to fight opponents.
5) 1981: Bob Phillips, who had his finger bit in an earlier game and eye-gouged an opponent in another, lost it against Flint. After a fight spilled into the penalty box, he walked on top of the dasher boards, trying to get at the Generals’ Jeff Leverman.
4) 1973: After getting hit in the head by Flint’s Laurie Yaworski, Fort Wayne’s Bob Fitchner challenged the entire Generals bench. The only taker was rookie Rodney Cox, who got pummeled, setting off a bench-clearing brawl.
3) 1991: As referees tried to separate Steve Fletcher of Fort Wayne and Kerry Toporowski of Indianapolis, Fletcher yanked Toporowski’s arm, dislocating his elbow. By 1993, the IHL had enough of their antics and ruled they couldn’t play against each other again.
2) 2008: After giving up a goal in a 4-3 playoff loss at Muskegon, goalie Nick Boucher berated teammate Kevin Bertram, who had screened him. Bertram responded with four punches to the face and they had to be separated.
1) 1999: Komets center Eric Boguniecki shoved Michigan enforcer Mel Angelstad, and Angelstad answered by kissing Boguniecki on the lips.
A few weeks later, the teams met again and a sellout crowd at Wings Stadium held signs reading things like, #33, your kiss is on my list.
You’ve got beached whales sitting in the stands that weigh 500 pounds holding signs up, like I care about that, Boguniecki said at the time.
They’re not going to hurt my feelings. They can paint their lips. They can hold any sign they want. Just look in the mirror, that’s all I can say.