When the Komets unleashed three goals in the span of 39 seconds during the third period Friday, it made for a franchise record and was also a microcosm of a dominating 7-4 victory over the Dayton Gems.
Center Colin Chaulk began the onslaught with a shot from 40 feet out, after he and defenseman Frankie DeAngelis playfully ran a give-and-go.
That was followed by a goal from left wing Matt Syroczynski, who was left unattended in front of the net.
And Leo Thomas’ goal came via a rocketing wrist shot from between the circles.
Yep, the Komets had fun in this game, and so did the 7,747 fans at Memorial Coliseum.
The only hitch was that 231 miles away, the Muskegon Lumberjacks were completing a 6-4 victory over the Bloomington PrairieThunder. Muskegon maintained its six-point lead over the Komets and could capture the regular-season championship tonight with a win over Flint and a Fort Wayne loss in regulation at Dayton.
Given the way Fort Wayne’s offense has been performing, it might be tough to imagine a loss to the last-place Gems, but the Komets did give up the final three goals Friday.
I was just glad we got well ahead of them because they’re a dangerous team, Komets coach Al Sims said. You know, those (quick) three goals we had put it out of reach for them and were huge for us.
Anytime we can score seven, that’s a big deal. I don’t know how many times we’ve done it this year, but not very often.
This was only the third time the Komets had scored so many goals, but they are on the cusp of missing a regular-season title for the first time since 2005-06.
Muskegon has 102 points and four games remaining. Fort Wayne has 96 points and five games. Port Huron is third with 92 points and three games left.
The Komets, who have won four of their last five games, scored their goals in numerous ways.
Both of Syroczynski’s goals were netted when he was undefended in the slot.
Right wing Sean O’Connor scored a power-play goal, thanks to a cross-ice pass from Thomas.
Justin Chwedoruk’s goal was off a David Hukalo pass that went half the length of the ice.
And P.C. Drouin scored on a penalty shot, after he was hauled down from behind by Todd Spencer during a first-period breakaway.
Drouin was the first Fort Wayne player to score on a penalty shot since center Mathieu Curadeau on Feb. 2, 2008.
Tonight, we were passing the puck well, passing right onto the tape of the sticks, supporting each other, said DeAngelis, who tallied three assists.
We had the opportunities, and we capitalized.
The three-goal barrage was the fastest for the Komets since 1962, when it took 45 seconds for the trifecta in an 8-6 victory over Sudbury. As for allowing the next three goals, the Komets weren’t pleased goaltender Nick Boucher had to leave the ice with 25 saves on 29 shots.
Our offense was clicking, but toward the end we didn’t play the way we wanted to, DeAngelis said. We kind of let Bouch down and made some silly mistakes that we shouldn’t be making in our end.