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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Komets Matt Syroczynski and Colin Chaulk celebrate Shafranov’s first-period goal Wednesday against Bloomington.

Strong 1st period boosts Komets

He sat in his office Tuesday morning and said the way to do this – the way for the Fort Wayne Komets to put three in the win column this week, at a time when that was most needed – was to bring their road selves home and put them to work.

“We need to try to get the guys to move the puck quickly whether we’re at home or on the road,” Komets coach Al Sims said.

Moving it quickly to the back of the net doesn’t hurt, either.

The Komets greeted visiting Bloomington with three first-period goals, added a couple more for seasoning in the second and third, and goaltender Tim Haun kept the door locked at the other end as the Komets got their three-game home stand off to rousing start Wednesday with a 5-0 rub-out of the PrairieThunder in front of 5,813 in Memorial Coliseum.

Sean O’Connor scored twice, and Konstantin Shafranov, Colin Chaulk and Justin Chwedoruk also notched goals against Bloomington goaltender Kevin Armstrong, who faced a 46-shot onslaught. Haun, meanwhile, kicked out 25 and got plenty of help from his defense as the Komets beat the PrairieThunder for the ninth time in 12 meetings.

Haun now leads the league in wins (22) and is tied for the league lead in shutouts (3).

“It shows what we can do when the whole team pulls together,” he said.

And when it knows what’s at stake.

“Yeah, it looked like our guys were blocking shots tonight,” Sims said. “A lot of the shots couldn’t get through to the net, and Timmy did a great job on the shots that did get through. … I think the guys are focused and know what this week means.”

Shafranov got it going for the Komets at 4:01 of the first on a 2-on-1 with Chaulk, as Bloomington got caught up ice. O’Connor followed with the first of his goals at 7:01, cleaning up on the doorstep after Matt Syroczynski beat his man to the net off the wing.

O’Connor then made it 3-0 at 11:28 off classic grinder work from Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock, who dug the puck out behind the net and centered it to O’Connor.

“I think the first period we almost played a road period, moved the puck quickly, got it deep all the time,” Sims said. “And we got it to the net and got to the net, and it resulted in three goals for us.”

And some breathing room.

“It allows us to relax a little bit,” Haun said. “Knowing we have a three-goal lead, I think everybody knows to start keeping it simple and that’s what I do as well, just keep talking to my ‘D’ and keep playing the same way.”

Whatever it was, it was potent stuff. Chaulk made it 4-0 with 27 seconds left in the second period, deflecting Shafranov’s cross-ice pass on another odd-man rush, and it went to 5-0 at the 5:28 mark of the third when Chwedoruk beat Armstrong again.

“That fourth goal that Chaulker got really sealed the deal, I think,” Sims said.