Friday was Report Card Night at Memorial Coliseum, and so a sellout crowd of 10,480 came out on a snow-flying night to see how well the Fort Wayne Komets had learned their lessons.
The answer: Pretty doggone well.
Two nights after a dreary loss to Dayton in which they stared any number of open nets in the eye and blinked, the Komets came out with the throttle flattened against Port Huron. They put four pucks behind goalie Larry Sterling in the first period, planted five more in the second and went on to laminate the second-place Icehawks 9-1.
Frankie DeAngelis and Konstantin Shafranov scored two goals apiece and five others also found the back of the net for the Komets, who outshot the Icehawks 20-6 in the first, chased Sterling midway through the second with their seventh goal and riddled Sterling and backup Adam Russo with 44 shots on the night.
Every line was going tonight, said forward Leo Thomas, who had a goal and three assists.
It seemed like everything thats been going against us most of the year came back to us in one night, Komets coach Al Sims agreed.
We wanted to go to the net and we were more determined obviously tonight to do that, Sims went on. We scored a lot of tips and rebound goals, a lot of goals from within 10 feet of the net. Thats something we havent been doing for most of the year.
Shafranov got it started for the Komets at 7:54 of the first, getting behind the Port Huron defense and beating Sterling on the breakaway.
At 15:02, DeAngelis outskated his man into the zone as the trailer on a give-and-go, deked Sterling to the ice and tucked a backhand inside the post for 2-0.
That ignited a three-goals-in-3 1/2 -minute spasm for the Komets, as MacMillan stuffed the rebound of Matt Woodards shot off the right wing at 16:11 and DeAngelis followed with a shorthanded goal at 18:31 as P.C. Drouin was serving two minutes for slashing.
The biggest thing for us was the next goal, Sims said. It goes to 4-1, and its a different game. But it goes to 5-0 and then 6-0. We knew the next goal was gonna be huge, and we wanted to make sure we got it.
They did, Drouin beating Sterling at the 4:30 mark of the second period. Thomas, Shafranov, Matt Syroczynski and Sean OConnor proceeded to add goals to the pile in the second, during which the Komets continued to do what they failed to do Wednesday: Go hard to the net.
Thats one thing we need to work on more, Thomas said. We get the shot to the net but we just dont get enough traffic. Especially against good teams like that we need to go to the net and get those rebounds. A lot of the goalies in this league do kick those out.
Thats one of the things were working on now, and we did a good job with it tonight.
Notes: Former Komet Mathieu Curadeau has been named an assistant captain with the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL. Fridays on-ice officials were referee Brent Coulombe and linesmen Jared Reid and Chris Hoy.