When it comes to special teams, the Port Huron Icehawks have been the IHL’s best squad this season.
But they made a slight gaffe Saturday night and it led to a 4-2 Komets victory in front of 7,283 fans at Memorial Coliseum.
The Icehawks hadn’t allowed a short-handed goal all season. That changed at 5:51 of the third period when right wing Sean O’Connor skated down the ice during a 2-on-1 rush. He faked a pass, then faked a shot and ripped the puck past goaltender Adam Russo for a 3-2 lead.
O’Connor cemented the victory, the Komets’ fourth in five games, by tucking a rebound just inside the right goalpost at 12:56.
The Komets scored first, on their third shot of the game, at 2:25 of the first period. Defenseman Bobby Phillips skated out from the right boards and dropped a pass for forward Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock, who whipped a shot from the right circle past Russo.
Goaltender Tim Haun, who played for a 10th straight game since Nick Boucher suffered his hand injury, preserved the lead for Fort Wayne by kicking away a Jason Selleke one-timer from close range at 13:40.
The Komets took a two-goal lead at 18:37, just after a power play expired. The Komets had fanned on a couple of shots at wide-open nets during the man-advantage, but right wing Justin Chwedoruk sent a wrist shot from the right circle that sailed over sliding forward Derek Patrosso and into the Port Huron goal.
Chwedoruk has scored in five straight games, tied for the longest streak in the IHL this season with Muskegon’s John DiPace. Chwedoruk had six points in six games since signing as a free agent.
A bit of good fortune got the Icehawks going. They were icing the puck but defenseman Mike Gershon came out of the penalty box in time to stop it and get a breakaway. He slipped the puck between the right goalpost and Haun’s leg at 6:52 of the second period.
With Fort Wayne center Colin Chaulk in the penalty box, serving a double-minor for high-sticking Nick Lindberg, Port Huron’s Daniel Tetrault scored on a shot from 40 feet out to tie it at 2.
Russo stopped 31 shots. Haun stopped 24.
This was the third game in as many nights for the Komets, who lost 3-1 to the first-place Muskegon Lumberjacks on Friday night.
Notes: Center Rick Varone missed a second straight game with a knee injury. The Komets also played without left wing Konstantin Shafranov (concussion) and forward Brad MacMillan (league suspension). The Icehawks played without right wing Jason Kostadine. The referee, Bob Langdon, is the commissioner of the All-American Hockey League, which has an IHL affiliation. Richard Bruner and Ryan Yerrick, whose ownership of the Dayton Gems has come under fire recently following missed payments to the IHL, were at the game. They are natives of northeast Indiana.