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Changing K's: Win again, make trade

The Komets have their first winning streak of the season – their 4-2 victory over the Evansville IceMen on Friday was their second straight win – but that doesn't mean the players' jobs are safe.

Prior to the game, the Komets acquired prolific scoring forward Tab Lardner from Missouri for future considerations and it's likely that when he arrives Monday, someone will be waived or given to Missouri to make room for the high-paid Lardner.

The Komets are 4-8-1, in last place in the 18-team Central Hockey League, after winning three straight IHL titles.

"Tab is a player we're familiar with from when he was Port Huron," Komets general manager David Franke said of the 30-year-old Lardner, who had 95 goals and 186 points in 199 games over the last three seasons in Port Huron where he skated against the Komets in the IHL.

"He scored a lot of big goals against us through the years, and he's got a lot of experience in the Central League, too. He's been around a little more than other players on the team. He'll be a veteran and add some experience, and definitely add some offense."

With Missouri, Lardner had three goals and 10 points in 15 games.

To replace him, the Mavericks signed Bill Vandermeer, who had 14 goals and 30 points in 38 games last season, before breaking both of his heels in an offseason landscaping accident that saw him drop from 20 feet up. It was unclear if he'd ever play hockey again.

Lardner will now be reunited with two of his former Port Huron teammates, Derek Patrosso and Brandon Naurato, who have been part of a Fort Wayne lineup that ranked last in the CHL with 1.75 goals per game coming into Friday.

At Swonder Arena, the Komets got goals from Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock, Bobby Phillips, Sean O'Connor and Frankie DeAngelis, who had a goal and three assists in Thursday's 5-2 victory over Quad City at Memorial Coliseum.

O'Connor has five points in the last two games.

Fort Wayne goaltender Kevin Reiter stopped 37 shots, getting foiled only by forwards Jeff Nelson and Mark Cody, as the Komets improved to 2-1-0 against the IceMen, who are in their first season.

Evansville goalie David Wilson stopped 27 shots.

Fort Wayne scored on 2 of 7 power plays, while Evansville (8-7-1) was 1 for 5.

Justin A. Cohn, pro sports coordinator for The Journal Gazette, has been covering the Fort Wayne Komets since 1997. His reporting includes game stories from home and away, features about the players and personalities associated with the Komets, plus coverage of issues affecting hockey at all levels. A native of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Cohn graduated from Emory University in Atlanta. He can be reached at 260-461-8429 or by email at jcohn@jg.net.

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