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Komets nail down preseason win

The Komets won their first exhibition game of the season – 4-3 at Wheeling, W. Va.– but it didn’t come easy Wednesday night.

Fort Wayne scored three unanswered goals in the third period at WesBanco Arena and had to try and kill off 9 of the game’s 11 power plays.

“We had a lot of intensity,” coach Gary Graham said via phone. “The intangibles came out and the guys were sacrificing and looking to do whatever it took. There was a lot of adversity we faced – we battled through all those penalties – but a lot of them were deserved.”

Fort Waynegot goals from Scott Fleming, Joe Hartman, Chris Auger and Kevin Walrod.

Max Strang played the whole game in net, stopping 29 shots. Wheeling’s Peter Mannino stopped 21 of 22 shots, and Alex Westlund stopped 5 of 8.

Wheeling got goals from Tyler Fernandez, Zack Torquato and Max MacKay.

Fort Wayne’s Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock and Simons Danis-Pepin both had fights in the game.

The Komets were 0 for 2 on power plays. The Nailers were 2 for 9.

“It was especially tough on our defense, which had to kill off so many penalties,” Graham said. “When you are killing penalties back to back, you can’t get any flow.”

But Graham loves where the Komets are at heading into the next game, Friday at Kalamazoo, Mich.

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 jcohn@jg.net.

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