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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, February 03, 2018 11:10 pm

Desjardins' hat trick leads K's to victory

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Gabriel Desjardins kept up his frenetic scoring pace with three goals – with his second hat trick of the season – in leading the Komets to a 7-3 victory over the Wheeling Nailers on Saturday night at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling, West Virginia.

Desjardins has seven goals and 11 points over the last seven games, and the Komets (29-13-2) have won eight of their last nine outings.

Desjardins’ goal 1:41 into the third period, after Wheeling goaltender Adam Morrison mishandled the puck behind the net and Desjardins banked it off him for his second of the night, gave Fort Wayne a 4-2 lead.

Kevin Schultze answered at 4:44, but then the Komets cemented the victory with a barrage of goals – Desjardins at 5:17, Trevor Cheek at 12:08 and Ryan Lowney at 12:28 – for a 7-3 lead. Cheek’s goal, which came with Fort Wayne playing short-handed, was his first of the season for the Komets.

Louick Marcotte had a goal, three points a plus-4 rating for the Komets. Mason Baptista also found the back of the net, as Morrison stopped 32 shots for Wheeling (26-18-4).

The Komets signed goaltender Gordy Defiel to be the backup to Garrett Bartus, who stopped 30 shots. Defiel, a rookie, had one game of ECHL experience with the Orlando Solar Bears, and he played 15 games with Pensacola of the lower-level Southern Professional Hockey League, going 10-3-2 with a 2.37 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage. Last season, he was with Lake Superior State University.

With the arrival of Defiel, the Komets released Andy DiCristofaro, who had served as an emergency backup goalie during Friday’s 6-4 victory over the Rapid City Rush. Goalie Michael Houser had been called to Tucson of the American Hockey League earlier Friday.