This was not normally his kind of play, Colin Chaulk had to admit. But then this is no normal time for the Komets.
And so when Guy Dupuis winged a shot from the point with 52 seconds to play Sunday night and the Quad City Mallards about to force an improbable overtime, Chaulk was the guy who threw his body toward the net, got his stick on the puck and chipped it top shelf over Mallards goalie Jerad Kaufmann’s shoulder.
And a 3-goal tie became a 4-3 lead. And 51 seconds later Chaulk added the empty-netter that sent the Komets to a 5-3 victory and a crowd of 8,473 home happy.
It was the surging Komets’ sixth straight win and their ninth in the last 10 games. Throw in a shootout loss at Flint on Jan. 2, and it’s been 19 days since they lost in regulation.
Consider Chaulk’s go-ahead goal one clue as to why.
Normally I’m not really getting those down; bigger guys usually get those shots, he said. But it’s just kind of what our team’s doing right now. Everybody’s just doing a little bit of paintin’ and a little bit of plumbing.
Not to mention the occasional repair work. The latter is what had to happen Sunday, thanks to a Mallards team that came in 12-21-1-4 and just two points out of last place, but didn’t play like it. After the Komets (22-11-2) took a 3-1 lead on P.C. Drouin’s second goal 5:47 into the second period, the Mallards outshot the Komets 24-16 the rest of the way, finally tying it with 4:04 to play on Juris Stals’ goal off Brandon Marino’s wild initial shot, which sailed into the boards to Komets goalie Tim Haun’s left and kicked back out in front to Stals off to Haun’s right.
The spark was an apparent goal by Leo Thomas that would have put the Komets ahead 4-1 in the second. The goal was erased when it was judged not to have crossed the goal line, and not long thereafter Justin White beat Haun short-side inside the post with Quad City skating a man up.
Their confidence just went through the roof, said forward Matt Syroczynski, who nearly put the game away on a penalty shot in the third but just caught the knob of Kaufmann’s stick, which sent the puck high and wide.
They thought they could play with us, and probably for the next 10 minutes they really took it to us. We weren’t getting the puck out, and we were trying to do things one-on-one not using our teammates. It took some time, but we weathered the storm.
Characteristically so, at least lately.
Everything’s going well except for our power play, but if we’re getting four to six goals without our power play, we’re doing pretty good, Komets coach Al Sims said. Our goaltending’s been tremendous through this whole thing, with Timmy and now Bouch (Nick Bouchard), who had a great game last night and looks like he’s back to form.
Goaltending and a bit more scoring is what we needed, and it’s what we have right now.