The cure for what ailed the Komets, apparently, was a home-cooked meal.
Duck, to be precise.
The Komets returned home Friday – their six-game win streak blown up by back-to-back losses in Muskegon and Port Huron – and found the slumping Quad City Mallards waiting for them. A 4-1 feast in front of 9,359 of their closest friends ensued, Quad Citys seventh loss in its last eight games.
Leo Thomas, P.C. Drouin, Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock and Brad MacMillan scored the goals. Nick Boucher made the saves, snuffing 33 of 34 shots. The Komets de-boned the Mallards power play, killing all five of Quad Citys chances including almost 90 seconds of 5-on-3 in the second period, and their lost road trip – in which they were outscored 7-1, including a 6-1 trouncing by Port Huron – was a memory.
The last couple games it didnt go our way, so therefore tonight I wasnt surprised that we came out on top, Drouin said. In Muskegon we missed a lot of chances, although I didnt think we played that bad. And then in Port Huron we had a couple bad shifts, and we got behind the 8-ball there. But I didnt think we played that bad. I dont think the score reflected our effort or the scoring chances we had. So the last couple games the result didnt really go our way. But I dont think we were playing that bad, so therefore tonight I wasnt surprised that we came out on top.
Thomas woke up a listless first period at 16:07, busting into the zone, drawing Quad City goalie Jerad Kaufmann out with a fake and then skating around the net to plant the wraparound. It stayed that way until the 15:48 mark of the second, when Drouin rifled Colin Chaulks cross-ice pass past Kaufmann with the Komets skating a man up.
Joel Gasper got one back for the Mallards 22 seconds later, but Schrock got that one back at 19:35 of the period, jumping on a loose puck in the crease and whacking it under Kaufmann.
The sequence that turned the game, however, came at the other end of the second period, when Guy Dupuis and Danko Mironovic went off within 30 seconds of each other a minute in and the Komets came away unscathed on the 5-on-3 – and then unscathed again on another Quad City power play a minute later.
From that point on, Fort Wayne owned the momentum, peppering Kaufmann with 28 shots across the last two periods.
That was a huge turning point, Boucher said. It was a 1-0 game there at that point, and (if) we give one up on the 5-on-3, and then they still have the 5-on-4 right after; that was a huge kill.
Notes: One day after he was waived and claimed by Flint, forward Rick Varone – a member of the IHL all-rookie team with the Komets last season – was traded to Bloomington on Friday for future considerations. Mitch Woods got an assist on the Komets first goal and was plus-1 on the night in his return to the Komets lineup.