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  • Goalie stays focused without much action
      Goaltender Ben Meisner stopped 20 of 21 shots as the Komets shocked the defending champion Reading Royals with a 2-1 victory in the opening game of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Thursday night.
  • Ks win battle royal
      The Reading Royals may dispute the legality of the game-winning play. But there was no disputing what put the Komets in position to defeat the ECHL’s defending champions Thursday night.
  • Ks goalie excited by 1st shot at playoffs
      The Komets have used nine goaltenders this season – a franchise record for the 62-year-old team – and Ben Meisner is the one left standing between the pipes.
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Audio: Goalie Tim Haun after defeating Muskegon 4-2

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Audio: Coach Al Sims on Saturday's victory

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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
The Komets’ Sean O’Connor, center, battles Muskegon’s Jordan Little for the puck as the Komets’ Leo Thomas follows during the first period Saturday.

K’s cut down Lumberjacks

Big Snake a no-show for Muskegon, but fists still fly

The 8,222 fans at Memorial Coliseum didn’t get the show they expected. There was no Brad MacMillan vs. Robin Big Snake fracas.

But the bitter rivals were no less intense.

And the Komets defeated the Muskegon Lumberjacks 4-2 on Saturday.

The game had been hyped as the one in which the score from Halloween would finally be settled. On that brawl-filled night, MacMillan left the penalty box to fight and tossed aside a referee, drawing a 15-game suspension. Big Snake acted similarly, exchanged plenty of words with MacMillan, and he got 12 games.

Saturday would have been the first time they’d been on the ice together, but Big Snake didn’t make the trip. On his Facebook page, he said he’d demanded a trade, after tallying only four points and 92 penalty minutes in 18 games.

There were still two fights, as MacMillan and Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock both got into it with Russ Smith, and Tim Haun’s 41-save performance was memorable.

“When you’re busy, you try and stay focused. That’s the good thing about being busy. You’re in the zone and trying to stop everything coming your way,” said Haun, whose Komets (19-11-2) are on a 4-0-1 run and seven points back of second-place Muskegon.

“We’re starting to climb the ladder. We’ve turned that corner. Guys are (working) hard at both ends. It’s almost midseason, we got over the hump, and we’re heading to the top here.”

The Komets’ top line of Schrock, Colin Chaulk and Konstantin Shafranov accounted for all four goals and seven points.

The Komets opened the scoring on the game’s first shot. On a 3-on-2 rush, Schrock sent a pass to Chaulk in the right circle, from where he sent a blistering wrist shot above the glove of goaltender Sebastien Centomo. Chaulk is riding a seven-game point-scoring streak.

“The puck is going in for him,” Komets coach Al Sims said. “He’s getting things to the net, and he’s got confidence in his shot. He’s putting the puck where goal-scorers put the puck, right in the top corner. … He’s got a hot hand right now, and I’m encouraging him to shoot right now because the puck is going in for him.”

Muskegon right wing Robin Bouchard, the IHL’s leading scorer, netted a power-play goal from the right circle at 13:14 of the first period.

Bouchard is 29 goals shy of breaking Kevin Kerr’s mark of 682, the most in the history of minor-league hockey.

The Komets got a power-play goal of their own at 14:22 of the second period, when Shafranov’s high shot from the right circle was redirected underneath the goalie by Chaulk.

Shafranov made it 3-1 at 7:14 of the third period, with a big assist to defenseman Bobby Phillips, who had taken a shot, gotten his own rebound, then tried a wraparound attempt, which sent another rebound onto the stick of Shafranov.

Muskegon right wing J.T. Dahlinger tucked a rebound into the net at 12:06, but Schrock answered with an empty-net goal. Fort Wayne was outshot 43-28.