Getting off to solid starts isn’t always the Komets’ forte, but it sure was tonight. And the timing of it was superb.
The Komets netted four goals on their first 11 shots en route to a 5-1 victory over the Kalamazoo Wings.
The Komets finished the regular-season series against Kalamazoo with a 6-6-1 record.
(Video highlights above.)
The victory, in front of an announced crowd of 6,592 fans at Memorial Coliseum, put some separation between Fort Wayne (33-23-10) and Kalamazoo (34-28-4) for third place in the Central Division – four points to be exact – and kept the Komets within sight of the second-place Toledo Walleye.
Fort Wayne has six regular-season games left to try and make up the five points it is back of Toledo.
Defenseman Ryan Lowney, who leads Fort Wayne’s defensemen in scoring, moved up to 14 among ECHL blue-liners with 37 points, thanks to his goal and two assists tonight. Forward Jake Kamrass also had a goal and two assists.
The Komets struck early when Brady Shaw skated into the offensive zone, lost control of the puck and regained possession to send a crossing pass to Josh Elmes, who sent a 45-foot shot into the net on the game’s first shot.
Kamrass made it 2-0 when he got to a rebound, then executed a quick give-and-go with Justin Hodgman before snapping a shot from the right circle past goaltender Jake Hildebrand.
And Shawn Szydlowski scored on a breakaway at 8:47 to make it 3-0 and end the night of Hildebrand, who stopped only 5 of 8 shots before being replaced by Ivan Kulbakov, who stopped 15 of 17.
The goalie switch was soon followed by a fight between Elmes and Zach Saar. Kalamazoo’s Luke Sandler scored at 12:54 with a shot from the right circle that beat Fort Wayne netminder Alex Dubeau.
Lowney answered at 15:35, after Kamrass set him up for a shot from just inside the blue line to make it 4-1.
Dubeau, who is 2-0-1 in three straight games since joining the Komets from the University of New Brunswick, stopped 22 of 23 shots including a high Saar forehand early in the second period to preserve the three-goal lead.
Dubeau stopped Chris Collins on a breakaway near the end of the period, too.
In the third period, Hodgman skated out of the left corner and snapped a shot into the top of the net for a 5-1 lead.
Notes: The Komets’ J.C. Campagna, who is tied for second in the ECHL in goal scoring with 34, sat out for the second time in three games with a hip injury and is day-to-day. … Also out were Cody Sol (ankle), Chase Stewart (ankle), Trey Phillips (flu) and Gage Torrell. … The referee was Alex Normandin. … The Komets play Friday at Wheeling, West Virginia, and then play host to the Kansas City Mavericks at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.