FORT WAYNE – Not unlike the rest of the Komets, right wing Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock needed to score some goals.
Maybe it was the luck of the Irish – the Komets donned special green St. Patrick’s Day jerseys Saturday, and he’s Irish on his mother’s side – but Schrock led his team out of its doldrums in a 4-3 shootout victory over the Greenville Road Warriors at Memorial Coliseum.
Fort Wayne remains 10 points back of the eighth and final playoff spot with only seven games remaining.
The man whose jersey read O’Schrock on the back had the 8,710 fans saying, Oh, my, as he got the second hat trick of his career and first since 2010.
And after the Komets coughed up a two-goal lead in the third period, they got goals from Schrock and defenseman Jamie Milam in the shootout to cement the victory.
I just shot the puck and it happened to go in tonight, and I’m just glad it came out this way and we were able to get the win, especially after we almost coughed up, Schrock said.
I’ve been shooting the puck all year, but thankfully tonight they went in, and I have to credit my linemates (6-foot-6) Garrett Klotz and (5-8) Nick Wheeler. It was like a couple Lord of the Rings’ characters a Halfling and Giant. I guess that makes me Frodo, and I took the ring to Mordor.
After averaging 15.7 goals over his first three seasons, Schrock, a native of Fort Wayne, came into Saturday with only six goals. And the Komets (31-31-3) had lost 11 of their last 15.
So what changed with the Komets’ alternate captain?
He missed the goalie with most of his shots tonight; usually he hits them right in the crest, coach Al Sims said. Tonight, he was missing the goalie and finding the net. It was great for Kaleigh. It was a great night for him.
It was only the 30th time this season – in 65 games – the Komets have scored more than two goals, and they ended the two-game winning streak of Greenville (34-25-7).
Schrock opened the scoring with a 20-foot shot that sailed above goaltender Scott Stajcer 1:46 into the first period.
Schrock’s fortuitous shot from the right boards at 13:39 eluded a screened Stajcer for a 2-0 lead at 13:39, but the Road Warriors answered at 17:55 when forward Zach Cohen’s wraparound got past goalie Jeff Deslauriers.
Deslauriers, who stopped 39 shots and 4 of 4 shootout attempts, has played in 10 of the last 11 games, missing one only because he was backing up for Anaheim of the NHL.
Schrock completed his hat trick with a shot from the left circle 4:02 into the second period, but the joy was erased in the third period when the Road Warriors got goals from forwards Danny Hobbs (20-footer) and Brendan Connolly (redirection) to tie it at 3.
Notes: Komets defenseman Scott Kishel was fined and suspended at least two games, pending further review, because of a major boarding penalty in Friday’s loss at Kalamazoo, Mich.