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Komets

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Komets battle for win

There will almost certainly be suspensions. There will definitely be renewed hatred if these teams meet in the CHL playoffs.

And there will be a lot of talk about this game for a long, long time.

The Komets won a wild back-and-forth game 5-4 against the Wichita Thunder, thanks to left wing P.C. Drouin's shot from 25 feet out, after he skated in against left wing A.J. Gale at 3:08 of the third period. It was a nifty response to four goals by defenseman Andrew Martens, but it wasn't the most memorable part of the game.

That came with 2.3 seconds remaining and Wichita's 28-goal scorer, Matt Robinson, getting a penalty shot because Fort Wayne defenseman Bobby Phillips had covered the puck in his own goal crease to negate a scoring chance.

On the penalty shot, Fort Wayne goaltender Nick Boucher came out to poke the puck away from Robinson, who never got a shot, ensuring the second straight 5-4 victory for the Komets over the Thunder in as many nights.

"That was just an instinctual kind of poke check," said Boucher, who made 31 saves. "When I do things that way, they usually work the best. I wasn't thinking I've got to poke check this guy. I don't know what to tell you; I threw it out there, I just did it. It was just a reaction. I don't know if he had his head down for a split second. … I was a little late getting across and it could have just been a self- preservation type of thing."

As the 10,011 fans at Memorial Coliseum celebrated raucously, so did the Komets. That incited the Thunder's anger, setting off fights between Phillips and Lance Galbraith, and Craig Cescon vs. Daniel Tetrault.

Wichita goaltender Marty Magers, who made 24 saves, charged down the ice to try to get at Boucher, throwing a linesman to the ice along the way, and was ejected as Boucher made an obscene gesture in his direction.

"Since his time in Port Huron (in 2007-08), he just enjoys in warm-ups yapping at me," Boucher said of Magers. "He just yaps and yaps at me. He shot a puck at me and hit me in the back in warm-ups. He shot a puck at me after the first period. He should really worry more about stopping the puck than trying to fight because look at his numbers; he's struggling (with a 3.49 goals-against average and .875 save percentage)."

After things cooled down, Fort Wayne coach Al Sims pulled Boucher from the game, but things were about to heat up again. On the ensuing faceoff, Fort Wayne's Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock was jawing with Jason Goulet before Wichita's Robin Richards jumped Schrock, setting off a 10-player melee that that brought 93 penalty minutes and took referee Jon McIsaac more than eight minutes to sort out.

The feeling in the Fort Wayne locker room was that Goulet could face a suspension for pummeling Dustin Molle, while officials tried to break it up. Boucher could face discipline for the gesture, Schrock for being overly physical with a linesman, and Magers for doing the same. There could be others, too.

"I was looking for Steve Fletcher because I thought we were back in the early-1990s," Sims said. "But we didn't have No. 77 on the bench. I thought Cescon did great in both his fights tonight. All the guys who stood up at the end of did great. Richards is one of the toughest guys in the league and he jumped Kaleigh. They're all going to get suspended, I'm sure, but when you've got 10,000 people in the building, you can't write a better script to a game."

On Friday night, the Komets defeated the Thunder in an overtime shootout, but it took a comeback from four goals down in the third period to make it happen.

The Komets (18-18-5) are on an 8-2-0 run. The Thunder (23-16-4) had been on an 11-2-1 run before getting to the Coliseum.

The Komets maintained that momentum early Saturday, tallying the first three goals. In the span of four shots, Schrock scored into a relatively open net, Tab Lardner finished off a 3-on-1 rush and Frankie DeAngelis tallied after he was left unattended in the slot.

That's when Martens began his onslaught.

He scored a pair of power-play goals in the span of 26 seconds in the second period.

After Fort Wayne center Mathieu Curadeau netted a wrist shot from 40 feet out at 9:58, Martens answered with two more goals by attacking the net. Martens, 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, came into the game with only eight goals.

There were 205 penalty minutes and, ironically, the Komets' greatest show of toughness this season came on a day they learned famed enforcer Jon "Nasty" Mirasty will join the club Wednesday on loan from Syracuse of the American Hockey League.

jcohn@jg.net

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