For the second night in a row, the Fort Wayne Komets jumped on the Dayton Gems in a hurry Saturday.
This time they just did it sooner.
One night after scoring three goals in 39 seconds of the third period to bury the last-place Gems, Leo Thomas scored twice in a 2 1/2 -minute span in the first period to get an early start on a hat trick, and Sean O’Connor scored the first of two of the night in the first as well.
That staked the Komets to a three-goal lead that eventually became a 5-2 victory over the Gems in front of 1,368 at Hara Arena in Dayton.
It was the Komets’ fifth victory in their last six games as they try to reel in first-place Muskegon, a 5-4 loser at home Saturday night to Flint.
The Lumberjacks’ lead over the second-place Komets now stands at four points.
In Dayton, Thomas and O’Connor accounted for all five goals, and the Komets’ penalty kill held Dayton scoreless on seven power-play opportunities.
The Gems scored twice in the second period to narrow the Komets’ lead to 3-2, but O’Connor struck again at 5:48 of the third and Thomas completed his hat with another goal at 6:24 to quash the threat.