During the second intermission, Komets coach Al Sims told his players, There are lots of goals in this room and we can get this done.
Finally, the Komets did score. And finally, they did win.
A 4-3 victory Saturday over the Evansville IceMen, in a game dominated by special teams, was Fort Waynes first in three games at home and it brought its overall record to 2-3-1 in the Central Hockey League.
Its nice to win one at home and finally give the fans something to kind of be excited about, right wing Derek Patrosso said. We cant let ourselves think we played well, though. We still have a long way to go.
The Komets trailed by one heading into the final period, but what began as a messy power play finished in beautiful fashion with right wing Sean OConnor sending a pass to left wing P.C. Drouin at the point. He blasted the puck through a crowd and into the top of the net, tying it at 3 at 6:42.
The Komets drew a two-minute 5-on-3 advantage at 8:22 – Joe Grimaldi got a cross-checking penalty and Nick Lindberg a tripping call – and Fort Waynes third shot on the power play resulted in a goal. Center Mathieu Curadeau, just off the left goalpost, chipped a short pass to Patrosso, who one-timed it in for a 4-3 lead.
Its good to get a win at home and good to score four goals, said Sims, whose team came into the night having been outscored 15-5. It was probably the hardest way possible to win at the end, but maybe thats what we needed – to be tested.
The Komets were short-handed for 5:48 of the final 8:25. Goaltender Nick Boucher, who stopped 19 shots, saved the game with a sliding save on center Damien Surmas one-timer from the left circle at the 14:24 mark.
With 17 seconds remaining, and Evansville having pulled its goalie for a 6-on-4 advantage, Grimaldis shot from just inside the blue line ricocheted off the right and then left posts to seal the win.
Weve got to get a little more disciplined there at the end, but hats off to the guys who killed the penalties. That was unbelievable, said Patrosso, who scored twice in front of 9,213 fans at Memorial Coliseum.
Fort Wayne scored on 3 of 9 power plays. Evansville was 2 for 7.
It took 124:41 of play at home this season before the Komets scored. It was the first time the Komets had suffered back-to-back home shutouts since 2006-07 in the United Hockey League.
Left wing Brandon Naurato snapped the slump with a shot from 15 feet out, though Evansville right wing Bo Cheesman answered 15:09 later.
After Patrosso made it 2-1 by scoring off the rebound of a shot from center Chris Francis at 5:59 of the second period, Evansvilles Brian Bicek answered at 10:59.
The Komets had an excellent opportunity to regain the lead when Francis split the defense and set up center Leo Thomas, who was foiled from point-blank range by Wilson. Seconds later, at 18:45, Evansville defenseman Mario Larocque jumped out of the penalty box and scored on a breakaway.