Right wing David Hukalo hadn’t had much luck scoring lately, like most of his Komets teammates.
So he decided to hunker down in front of the net and take some abuse Friday night to try and get garbage goals.
It worked in a big way.
After coughing up a two-goal lead, the Komets found themselves in overtime against the last-place Quad City Mallards. Hukalo camped out in front of the net during a power play and got cross-checked to the ice from behind by defenseman Jacques Perrault.
Hukalo retaliated by sending a slash Perrault’s way, which was ignored by referee Jim Hawthorne, but it got Hukalo the breathing room he needed to get a pass from center Colin Chaulk and score for a 3-2 victory at Memorial Coliseum.
I’ve been having trouble scoring, so if I have to get in front of the net, take a beating, then that’s what I’ve got to do to get a couple goals under my belt here, said Hukalo, who has two goals and three points in 13 games since returning from offseason shoulder surgery.
Hukalo’s return to the scoring column, in front of 8,465 fans, coincided with several teammates’ returns to the lineup.
Goaltender Nick Boucher was back after missing six weeks of play because of hand injuries, and he stopped 27 of 29 shots. He gave up two goals in a 32-second span during the third period, when center Joel Gasper scored from 45 feet out and right wing Terry Harrison capitalized on a breakaway.
I felt good, Boucher said. I wanted that first (goal) back. But all in all, I’m happy with the way I played.
Right wing Brad MacMillan was back after serving his 15-game suspension for leaving the penalty box to fight Muskegon’s Jason Lawmaster. It took him two shifts to get into a fight as he pummeled Quad City’s Marc Rechlicz. MacMillan was bested in a second-period bout with Jason Goulet.
And left wing Konstantin Shafranov was on the ice, after missing a month because of a concussion and a broken facial bone. Shafranov was scoreless with three shots on goal.
This was the closest the Komets (13-8-1) have been to their full lineup since October, and the reward was their second victory in six games. But coach Al Sims still wants his team to capitalize on more scoring chances heading into tonight’s game against the Mallards (6-11-4) at Moline, Ill.
I don’t know how many chances we had, Sims said. But it’s not that the opportunities aren’t there to get six to 10 goals. We got three (Friday) and it was enough to win, so it was a good win for us.
Defenseman Kevin Bertram’s first goal of the season opened the scoring at 16:09 of the first period, after Chaulk won a faceoff back to him in the offensive zone and Hukalo was screening goalie Jerad Kaufmann. Left wing P.C. Drouin netted a power-play goal at 1:14 of the second period.
Note: Broadcaster Bob Chase is sick, and the Komets’ games today and Sunday will not be on the radio.