FORT WAYNE – The Komets had struggled in almost every facet of the game during their three-game losing streak, and right wing Thomas Beauregard was not immune.
He had gone five games without a goal or assist before he netted the game-winner in a 4-3 victory over the Kalamazoo Wings on Thursday night at Memorial Coliseum.
We had a sense of urgency. We know we are in a slump right now. We just battled hard, fought hard tonight, said Beauregard, whose third-period goal came on a 2-on-1 rush with Josh Brittain feeding him a pass under a diving defender.
It was the last segment of three unanswered goals for the Komets (8-5-1).
We wanted to get out of the slump, Beauregard said. It’s not fun losing three in a row. We battled hard and just wanted to win, especially in front of a good crowd (of 7,479). It felt good.
The Komets got one goal and two assists from right wing Brandon Marino on a night Komets coach Al Sims tried new line combinations in the first half of a home-and-home series that continues tonight at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo, Mich.
I thought all three lines played great, Sims said.
Kalamazoo (8-8-0) had just completed a three-game road trip to Orlando, Fla. – the Wings last played there Tuesday night in a 4-3 victory – and they looked sluggish in the first 6:23, when they didn’t have a shot.
But the Wings had six of the next seven shots, including left wing Aaron Clarke’s breakaway goal at 9:10. The Komets answered 2:17 later, when Marino’s wraparound ricocheted off goalie Joe Cannata, then the leg of Komets forward Jean-Michel Rizk and into the net.
The Wings took a two-goal lead in the second period – defenseman Mitch Versteeg scored from 30 feet out and defenseman Adam Polasek from 50 feet out – but the Komets answered.
A rebound came to rest on Marino’s stick and he blasted it into the net at 6:46 of the second period, then newcomer defenseman Gabe Guentzel tied it with a power-play goal at 10:00. The Komets had been scoreless in their previous 21 attempts with the man-advantage.
It was Guentzel’s first game with Fort Wayne, after he was assigned to Fort Wayne from Norfolk of the American Hockey League, where he had one assist and a minus-8 rating in six games.
Guentzel showed why he was the top goal-scoring defenseman at Colorado College (from 2008 to 2012). He gets all his shots through and has great vision on the ice, Sims said. He ran (the power play) in Colorado and that’s probably where he’s most comfortable. He’s constantly talking and yelling and looks like he might help us out offensively.
Both teams scored on 1 of 3 power plays.
Fort Wayne goalie Kenny Reiter (3-1-1) stopped 37 of 40 shots. Cannata (2-3-0) stopped 31 of 35.
The Komets are 33-15-4 on Thanksgiving at the Coliseum and 2-2-0 on the road.