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Komets

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Swikar Patel | The Journal Gazette
The Komets’ Tab Lardner shoots on Evansville’s Jeff Harvey during Sunday’s game at Memorial Coliseum.

K’s goalie blanks 2nd straight foe

Only once in the last two games has the puck eluded Komets goaltender Kevin Reiter.

That time didn’t even count.

Thirteen seconds into Sunday’s game at Memorial Coliseum, Evansville left wing Matt Pierce’s goal off a rebound was disallowed because he kicked it into the net. Twenty-seven shots later, the IceMen skated off disgusted, having lost 2-0.

“Kevin Reiter really came to play the last two games. We haven’t been allowing a lot of shots, but he was ready for the dangerous ones and made some big saves,” said Fort Wayne coach Al Sims, whose team has won eight of its last nine games.

“I’m not a goaltending expert, but usually when goalies are playing this well, they’re seeing the puck really well. I’m sure the puck looks like a saucer to him right now. The breakaway save on (Brian) Bicek in the second period was huge because they could have scored short-handed and got some momentum. But he just never let them get anything going all night. He was smothering rebounds.”

The Komets came into the weekend without a shutout this season, after they racked up 19 in the previous three seasons.

Reiter (8-8-1) stopped 20 shots in Saturday’s 2-0 victory at Dayton and added 28 saves Sunday.

He hasn’t given up a goal in his last 121 minutes, 11 seconds and has given up one goal in his last three games.

“I had a little bit of puck luck there,” Reiter said. “Right at the beginning of the game, they get one, it goes in, and they don’t count it. … Early in the year, that type of thing might not have panned out.

“But we’re doing the little things right. Guys are paying the price, laying down and blocking shots. We’re chipping pucks out (of the defensive zone), along the wall, and not giving up odd-man rushes. We gave up one, but other than that, it was just perimeter play and it’s easy to play goalie like that.”

Reiter estimated the Komets (20-19-5) used to give up about 10 odd-man rushes per game, when they lost 16 of their first 21 games.

“It’s a lot easier to play right now. We’re confident as a group and once we get the lead, we’re a good team,” Reiter said.

Forward Derek Patrosso netted the game-winning short-handed goal with a slapshot from 45 feet out at 7:33 of the first period. That goal was set up by center Mathieu Curadeau, who made it 2-0 by netting a power-play goal off a rebound at 16:53 of the first period.

Fort Wayne, which pulled within a point of Dayton for seventh place in the Turner Conference, scored on 1 of 5 power plays.

Notes: Komets forward Sean O’Connor returned after leaving Saturday’s game with a leg injury. He was driven into the boards by Dayton’s Nathan Schwartzbauer, who received a major penalty. … Center Leo Thomas was also back after a one-game absence with an ankle injury.

jcohn@jg.net

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