FORT WAYNE – The Komets’ 6-3 victory over the Dayton Gems on Friday night was all about give-and-take.
The Komets gave the Gems a 5-on-3 power play for 1 minute, 41 seconds early in the second period, yet it was Fort Wayne that took the lead on the first shot with forward Tab Lardner breaking free of two defenders and netting a blast from the left circle at 4:01.
One minute after Lardner gave the Komets the lead, the Gems took it back, with former Fort Wayne forward Brandon Naurato rifling the puck from just inside the blue line and forward Jonathan Ornelas redirecting it underneath goaltender Nick Boucher.
Orneles may have shown a deft touch by giving the puck a midair swat, but he helped the Komets take the lead back by driving center Colin Chaulk into the Gems’ net and drawing a penalty for holding. Komets right wing Sean O’Conner accepted a pass from defenseman Frankie DeAngelis and one-timed it into the net from the left circle at 9:22 of the second period during the power play.
The best give-and-take of the night resulted in a 3-1 lead for the Komets.
During a Fort Wayne power play, center Mathieu Curadeau gave a pass to O’Connor as they streaked into the offensive zone, then took the puck right back and tucked it inside the right post at 16:49 of the second.
Center Danny Lapointe gave the Komets a 4-1 lead at 17:55 by redirecting defenseman Guy Dupuis’ shot from 50 feet out, but Dayton forward Mike Vaskivuo took the momentum back with a shot from the right circle 1:19 later.
The Komets gave the 7,981 fans some nervous moments when a turnover resulted in an Ornelas goal at 2:09 of the third period, but Lardner scored on a rebound and Dupuis on a 40-footer to take the faithful home happy.
They scored quickly in the third, and we thought it was going to be a tight game, Komets coach Al Sims said. But we responded.
It was good for us to score some goals. We’d struggled here with (six) in the last three games, and it was good for us to get as many goals as we did tonight.
The game was a microcosm of the season for the Komets, who lost 16 of their first 21 games.
The Komets have won nine of their last 11 to improve to 22-20-5.
We’re coming along, and a lot of guys are pitching in, Lardner said.
We’re getting scoring from everywhere, and that’s fantastic. Now we’ve just got to tighten up our (defensive) zone and maybe we’ll end up being a contender after all.
Dayton dropped to 23-20-4 and its hold on seventh place in the Turner Conference is down to one point over the Komets.
The top eight teams in the CHL make the playoffs.
Fort Wayne is 6-4-1 against Dayton, after the Komets lost the first four games of the series.
Fort Wayne scored on 3 of 4 power plays; Dayton was 1 for 11.