It didn’t look good Wednesday for the Fort Wayne Komets. The puck had filed for divorce.
Matt Syroczynski’s point-blank backhand kicked wide off the post.
Sean O’Connor’s bang-bang shot-rebound in front also failed to make it to the back of the net.
Juicy rebounds shunned Komets sticks as if they were radioactive.
You had to wonder after the first (period) if we were gonna get a goal, coach Al Sims said. Our guys were starting to second-guess themselves as to whether they should shoot or not, because they weren’t getting much success.
Here’s the thing, though: His guys still won.
P.C. Drouin opened the second with a goal 20 seconds in, Frankie DeAngelis tied it and, finally, Konstantin Shafranov stuck the winner with 1:10 to play. And the Komets skated off with a 4-2 victory over Dayton to extend another late-season winning streak to five games.
Last season, the Komets won 17 of their last 19 games to climb from fourth to first in the standings, then blew through the playoffs to a second straight Turner Cup. That might not happen again this year – first-place Muskegon is still 12 points clear of the Komets, and Port Huron remains one point ahead in second – but the circumstances are right for another surge.
The schedule’s in their favor, to start with. Not only is it busy – Wednesday kicked off a four-games-in-five-nights stretch that will morph into a 10-games-in-19-days stretch – but it’s full of winnable games. Seven of the 10 games are against the teams behind them in the standings, and five of the 10 are against the bottom three.
The Komets are 20-5-0-2 against those three teams. And against the bottom four, they’re 27-7-1-2.
Add to that the fact that this is a team that’s finding ways to win, even when their luck seems to be out – Wednesday being the classic example.
Yeah, it was frustrating, said Syroczynski, who had four solid chances to score and couldn’t cash one. But we pulled through. It’s all confidence. To come out in the second and get that one right away, I think it just shows right now we’re on a little bit of a roll.
With one eye squarely focused on the two teams ahead of them.
Yeah, I think we kind of heard that Port Huron and Muskegon were winning, so we had to keep the chase up, Syroczynski said.
If we go down by three points now (to Port Huron), it’d just be a disaster, he says. So we want to keep pushing ourselves the right way.