The most nervous person at Memorial Coliseum was undoubtedly goaltender Ben Meisner.
He was ejected with 1 minute, 54 seconds remaining – and his Komets clinging to a one-goal lead – for shooting the puck into the stands after giving up a goal Sunday.
I was thinking, We better win or else I’m going to feel horrible,’ Meisner said.
The Komets did win, 4-2 over the Kalamazoo Wings, as backup Max Strang didn’t face a single shot after he came into the game.
Forward Brandon Marino cemented the victory with an empty-net goal with 40 seconds remaining, in front of 6,263 fans, as Fort Wayne (15-11-8) extended its recent surge to 4-0-3.
We’re feeling good. We have a lot of team chemistry now and a lot of guys going, and it seems we finally have the systems now that we want in place. Everyone has been executing and it’s turned into wins, said forward Shawn Szydlowski, who scored once, while teammate Chris Auger scored twice en route to a 3-0 lead with 9:47 left in the third period.
Auger’s second goal came after the Komets forced a turnover at center ice and Marino’s 60-foot pass went through the legs of defenseman Dustin Cloutier, setting up a breakaway.
Kalamazoo (18-13-3) got both its goals from Eric Kattelus, on a shot from the left circle 13:18 into the third that ricocheted off three players, and at 18:06 off a rebound.
(Coach) Gary Graham came into the locker room and he thinks we’re trying to give him a heart attack with all the third-period comebacks we’ve allowed, said Szydlowski, whose team has been outscored 44-32 in the third period.
It’s a little hectic, but that’s a good thing about our team – we’re finding ways to win.
Komets captain Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock sat out a second straight game with a severely bruised left eye, suffered in Friday’s 3-2 victory at Toledo when he fought Emerson Clark. Goalie Andrey Makarov was out a third straight game with a head injury.
Before the game, the ECHL fined Kalamazoo right wing Chris Lawrence an undisclosed amount for cross-checking Meisner as he fell to the ice Saturday, when the Wings won 2-1 in overtime. Meisner left that game with a head/neck injury. On the same play, Meisner received a penalty for delay of game, which was for freezing the puck behind the net, under Rule 67.3, the ECHL stated Sunday.
Meisner stopped 29 of 31 shots Sunday, while Kalamazoo goalie Jordan Binnington stopped 34 of 37.
You saw a lot of desperate hockey plays from us in the second period, you’re just seeing that (type of stuff) more, and that’s because everybody is buying in, Graham said.
Notes: Komets defenseman Jace Coyle, who had four goals and 22 points in 32 games, was called up to Lake Erie of the American Hockey League. Former Komets coach Dave Allison attended the game. He is an assistant coach with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, a St. Louis Blues affiliate. .