FORT WAYNE – Jon Mirasty lived up to his billing Wednesday, dropping the gloves and unleashing a flurry of punches during just his second shift with the Komets.
The Komets, en masse, lived up to their billing as the hottest team in the CHL, too, defeating the Bloomington PrairieThunder 7-1 at Memorial Coliseum.
I think this was impressive, Fort Wayne coach Al Sims said. They’re one of the top teams in the league, they have the (third) fewest losses in the league, and to win decisively like that was great for our team.
But winning has become habitual for the once-dormant Komets (19-18-5), who surpassed the .500 mark for the first time this season by capturing their sixth straight game.
You never know what’s going to make the chemistry of a hockey team go, or the momentum on the ice go, said right wing Sean O’Connor, who had two goals against the PrairieThunder (24-16-2). We’re getting some bounces and breaks, and things seem to be going our way. It’s also about hard work and dealing with the adversity we had to deal with in the first half of the season.
It was a tough stretch to go through (being in last place until last week). We’ve been on the other side of things and know what it’s like, not getting the bounces, so we’re going to keep going, keep things simple.
Six minutes after Mirasty and Garrett Klotz gave the 5,474 fans a show, O’Connor got the offense going with a breakaway goal. His shot ricocheted off the glove of goaltender Marco Emond, ran down his back and into the net at 13:11 of the first period.
One shot later, center Colin Chaulk found the goal, too, and the game was never again in doubt, as the Komets improved their recent run to 13-3-4. The arrival of Mirasty not only boosted the Komets’ toughness – he is on loan from Syracuse of the AHL – but Wednesday also marked the return of a couple of stars.
Center Leo Thomas, who led the Komets in scoring with 11 goals and 20 points in 26 games before suffering an ankle sprain, was back after missing 15 games. Defenseman Brandon Warner, who had four goals and 13 points in 26 games, was also on the ice after missing 14 games with a separated shoulder.
Thomas didn’t get in on the scoring, but he did fight Jason Deleurme in the second period, after forward Tab Lardner gave the Komets a 3-0 lead by attacking the net and lifting a backhand shot above Emond at 3:31.
O’Connor scored from the right circle at 18:31. With 1.3 seconds left in the period, Derek Patrosso scored with a spinning shot from the left dasher boards at a point almost parallel to the goal line for 5-0 lead.
Emond was then yanked – he stopped 17 of 22 shots – in favor of Brad Phillips, who stopped 5 of 7 shots but allowed goals to Frankie DeAngelis and Chaulk.
Fort Wayne goaltender Kevin Reiter stopped 21 shots, but his shutout was foiled by defenseman Alan Mazur with 1:11 remaining in the game.
Notes: Defenseman Keith Rodger, who was waived by the Komets on Sunday, was picked up by Bloomington and in its lineup. He was minus 3. The Komets played without forwards Artem Podshendyalov (healthy), Chris Francis (conjunctivitis) and Neil Musselwhite (leg), plus defenseman Danko Mironovic (back).