Brady Shaw had the Komets’ third hat trick of the season, and they recovered from a disastrous start that saw them fall behind by two goals before defeating the Kalamazoo Wings 7-4 tonight at Memorial Coliseum.
It was the final meeting of the regular season between the teams and Fort Wayne was 10-3-1 in the series. Brett McKenzie, who had four assists tonight, led Fort Wayne with five goals and 21 points in 12 games against the Wings.
The only other Fort Wayne players with hat tricks this season are Shawn St-Amant and Anthony Petruzzelli.
The Komets completed a stretch of 14 straight games against division opponents and went 9-5-0.
The game was preceded by 15-minute ceremonies to induct former team captain Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock and Mike Emrick, NBC’s national play-by-play broadcaster for hockey, into the Komets’ Hall of Fame. Schrock is a native of Fort Wayne and Emrick, who was mentored by late Komets broadcaster Bob Chase, is from La Fontaine.
(Video of the induction ceremonies are above, albeit with some spotty audio.)
As has happened more times than any team would like, the Komets gave up a goal off the opposing team’s first scoring chance. The Wings’ first shot of the night came from Tanner Sorenson and he put his own rebound in for a 1-0 lead 48 seconds into the first period.
Fort Wayne’s Kyle Haas tried to get his team, and the crowd of 9,279, fired up again by fighting Ben Wilson off the ensuing faceoff.
But the Wings closed the period strong, getting a goal on their 10th shot from Justin Taylor at 19:48, when he redirected an Ian Edmondson blast from the blue line.
Fort Wayne’s Shaw scored by stick-handling through the slot 7:10 into the second period to cut the deficit to 2-1 and break a scoreless stretch of 96:59 for the Komets that included a 3-0 loss at Cincinnati on Friday night.
Mason Bergh tied it at 8:33, when a Shawn Szydlowski pass from behind the Kalamazoo net put him all alone 8 feet out.
And Shaw netted another goal at 11:20 – a McKenzie pass from the opposite corner caromed off Shaw and went in – though referee Andrew Bruggeman used video review to make sure Shaw hadn’t flicked it in with his hand or kicked it in.
Kalamazoo’s Garret Ross tied it with a power-goal when he redirected an Aaron Thow shot over the outstretched glove of Fort Wayne goaltender Dylan Ferguson at 19:36.
The only way the third period could have started better for the Komets would have been for them to win the opening faceoff. Instead, the Wings won it but lost control of the puck, enabling Petruzzelli to fire a shot from the left circle and Szydlowski to put the rebound in for a 4-3 lead six seconds into the frame.
Another fortuitous faceoff gave Fort Wayne a 5-3 lead – McKenzie won the faceoff back to Shaw for a snap from 40 feet out to complete his hat trick at 3:43 – and the Komets’ Will Petschenig fought Zach Diamantoni at 4:44.
Ross netted another power-play goal from just outside the crease at 11:30, but Fort Wayne’s Alan Lyszczarczyk answered with a power-play goal for a 6-4 lead at 13:11.
St-Amant added a late goal.