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Not much can stop the Komets

TOLEDO, Ohio – Right now, it seems not much can stop the Komets.

Not injuries. Not the opposition. Not even a wacky bit of scheduling.

In a game played in the morning at the Huntington Center, the Komets scored three unanswered goals in the third period to defeat the Toledo Walleye 4-2 and extend their winning streak to four games.

“We just realized in the third period that we had to play a little bit harder to get out with the win,” said forward Jean-Michel Rizk, who is on a three-game goal-scoring streak. “I don’t know if we were just expecting to get an easy one, but when we went down by a goal in the third, that woke us up and we went really hard at them.”

The Walleye took a 2-1 lead 7:06 into the third period on Byron Froese’s wrist shot from 45 feet out.

But the Komets responded 4:22 later, when center Colin Chaulk sent a pass to Josh Brittain, who attacked the net and slipped the puck in as he was upended from behind.

Less than a minute later, just off a faceoff in the offensive end, left wing Stephon Thorne slipped a backhand shot underneath goalie Kent Simpson for a 3-2 lead, and center Brett Smith added a late empty-net goal.

“Rizker made a good faceoff draw and I just digged the puck out – tried to help him win the draw – and I just closed my eyes and it somehow went in,” Thorne said.

A crowd of 6,802 fans – most of which were raucous, screaming students – attended on School Appreciation Day.

“The crowd kind of got us into it a little bit,” Thorne said. “Maybe at 7 o’clock in the morning we didn’t like (having a morning game) very much, but it ended up just being another game.”

Goaltender Charlie Effinger stopped 26 of 28 shots for Fort Wayne. Simpson stopped 20 of 23.

The Komets played without forward Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock, who had four teeth pulled this week, along with forward Eric Giosa (ankle), defenseman Ryan Hegarty (hand) and goalie Marco Cousineau (groin).

Scouts from at least two NHL teams -- Anaheim and Chicago -- attended the game.

Justin A. Cohn, pro sports coordinator for The Journal Gazette, has been covering the Fort Wayne Komets since 1997. His reporting includes game stories from home and away, features about the players and personalities associated with the Komets, plus coverage of issues affecting hockey at all levels. A native of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Cohn graduated from Emory University in Atlanta. He can be reached at 260-461-8429 or by email at