The Komets have been playing to get out of the Central Hockey League cellar. They have been playing to save their jobs.
And they've been doing it fairly well.
Saturday's 5-4 victory over the Quad City Mallards was the third in a row for the Komets, who came into this week having yet to win back-to-back games.
With recently acquired forward Tab Lardner arriving Monday, and someone's job in jeopardy, there hardly seemed a weak link on the Komets' roster as they mounted a four-goal lead in the first half of the game and had the 6,988 fans at Memorial Coliseum in jubilant spirits.
But the Mallards got back into it with goals from Mike McLean, Phil Axtell and Zac Pearson before goaltender Nick Boucher, who finished with 21 saves, cemented the victory.
"When it was 5-1, we thought it was over and relaxed," Komets coach Al Sims said. "We got in (from Evansville) at five in the morning and nobody is really physically or mentally strong at this point of three (games) in three nights. And the Mallards were playing their fourth in five. So it was a bit of a messy game, but you've got to win ugly sometimes. We could have imploded and lost it 6-5 if it was a week or two ago. But we didn't and that's a good sign."
No one was better for the 5-8-1 Komets than forward Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock, the Fort Wayne native, who recorded the first hat trick of his two-year professional career.
"I was a little bit nervous when Quad City cut into the lead and battled back," Schrock said. "But I've got to really credit my linemates, Chris Francis and Sean O'Connor. They're playmakers. It's like playing with (the Detroit Red Wings') Pavel Datysuk and Henrik Zetterberg out there. It's pretty easy. All I have to do is stand in front and they find a way to get the puck to the net."
- Fort Wayne's Derek Patrosso suffered a concussion in the game. Defenseman Danko Mironovic has one, too, and Olivier Legault is on injured reserve. If their salaries make enough room, the Komets may not have to release a player for Lardner until they get healthier.