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Ice Chips

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Lang's hat trick, 2 fights lead K's

The Komets got a 5-4 victory over the Evansville IceMen at the Ford Center on Nov. 24, 2013.

K's, Lang respond with win

Hat trick paces 5-4 victory at Evansville

Komets coach Gary Graham had called out his players publicly.

One of those players was Mickey Lang, and he responded with a hat trick in Sunday's 5-4 victory at Evansville.

"I think the players and I had a good heart-to-heart in the pregame meeting," Graham said. "They know I got passionate last night because I care. We're just trying to create good habits that winning teams have. That was the whole speech last night. When we're playing well, we're still cutting corners. We need to tighten things up."

Lang had the game-winning goal -- his third goal of the night -- at 8:32 of the third period when his shot from the right circle went through the legs of IceMen goaltender Garrett Bartus for a 5-3 lead.

"Lang is a guy I have a lot of confidence in," Graham said. "With Lang, maybe I should have clarified (my comments more). At the end of the day, I don't judge players solely on stats. It's how they execute. You can have two goals but lose 4-2 and that's not good. …. It's just me challenging guys I trust in and believe in. They know I have their backs and they're not thin skinned."

The IceMen (8-3-3) got a goal from Matt Lowry at 15:48, and Lowry also put the puck in the net a split second after the final buzzer.

But the Komets (6-5-3) snapped their two-game losing streak, which included a 5-4 overtime loss Friday to the Wheeling Nailers, after which Graham called out several players, namely Lang, Mike Vaskivuo, Jace Coyle and Nick Tuzzolino.

Tuzzolino, the Komets' captain, was a healthy scratch and didn't make the trip.

"He and I had a heart-to-heart this morning," Graham said. "I thought it would be good chance for him to think about his game and role with his team. Tonight's result wasn't about that decision; it was about the guys who were here."

The Komets also got goals from Brandon Marino and Scott Fleming.

Evansville's Lowry had two goals, and there were one apiece from Andre Bouvet-Morissettte and Matt Schepke.

"We came out with a good start and that always helps us. There are still some things we will continue to clean up," Graham said. "But to come in and play Evansville, a team that was playing desperate on home ice, I liked our energy. I thought Lang and Mike Vaskivuo were unreal. Guys responded well."

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