The rowdiest team in the International Hockey League came to town Wednesday night, lugging a league-high 1,321 penalty minutes and a team bus groaning, no doubt, with the weight of 13 players who tipped the scales at 200 pounds or more.
So maybe it figured the Bloomington PrairieThunder would be party to a beatdown.
Matt Syroczynski rang up a hat trick, Leo Thomas, Konstantin Shafranov and Brad MacMillan also scored, and, five days after their eight-goal laceration of Port Huron, the Fort Wayne Komets cruised again, 6-2. The Komets outshot Bloomington 45-22 and put it away with three goals in the last 5 1/2 minutes.
Credit Syroczynski’s big night, another solid turn in goal for Tim Hahn and the league’s best home-ice penalty kill, which faced eight Bloomington power plays and was burned only once.
Great job by our penalty killers, Komets coach Al Sims said. They’re the most penalized team in the league, and we talked before the game that we should probably get a lot of power plays tonight. And it ended up they had eight or nine power plays.
But you can’t say enough about our penalty killing, and Timmy did a great job behind them. For the most part we didn’t let them set up a whole lot in our zone.
That could not be said of Syroczynski, who finally converted the chances that have been so much eluding him lately.
I knew it was just a matter of time before I had a big game, he said. When you’re getting seven, eight shots a night, eventually they’re gonna go in. Hopefully this is the start of a string of goals for me.
Syroczynski kicked things off 2:44 into the game, sailing in alone on a breakaway and rifling the puck past Bloomington goaltender Sebastian Dahm. A bit more than 12 minutes later, at the 14-minute mark, Leo Thomas made it 2-0 by jumping on Brad MacMillan’s ricochet off the boards in the Bloomington zone, putting Dahm on the ice with a deke and tucking it inside the post.
The Komets blistered Dahm with 16 shots in the period and gave up just six despite having to kill three penalties, including 44 seconds of two-man.
Bill Bagron’s power-play goal 56 seconds into the second period finally broke the spell for the Thunder, but Syroczynski got that one back at 9:15 of the second, converting Colin Chaulk’s goalmouth pass on the corner of the goal. It was a 3-1 game going to the final period and could have been worse; Syroczynski chimed the crossbar on a shot that had Dahm beat, and the Komets failed to convert on at least half a dozen other chances.
That gave Bloomington a puncher’s chance in the third, and Nick Elligsen took advantage to narrow the gap to 3-2 on a shot that eluded Hahn and barely trickled over the goal line. But once again the Komets retaliated: Shafranov scored with 5:36 to play, Syroczynski got his third of the game on the power play just 1:23 later and MacMillan scored 20 seconds after that.
Notes: On-ice officials for Wednesday’s game were referee Ian Croft and linesmen Brian Oliver and Chris Hoy. In the semiannual league meetings Monday and Tuesday, the IHL board of governors heard presentations from member/ownership groups from Evansville and Chicago in regard to their future inclusion in the league.