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Komets
vs. Evansville
When: 7:30 p.m. today
Radio: 1190 AM
Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Fort Wayne’s Derek Patrosso puts a shot on goal Friday night against Quad City’s Adam Russo at Memorial Coliseum.
Komets 4, Quad City 1

Patrosso’s hat trick keeps K’s red hot

Winger ends slump as Fort Wayne nets 12th win in 14 games

Derek Patrosso came into Friday’s game with only seven goals and, if you ask him, he’ll tell you it was his own fault.

“It was frustrating me big time,” said Patrosso, a right wing, who scored 30 goals last season with Port Huron of the IHL. “I felt I was passing too much and was kind of taking away a lot of my options because I was passing so much. I was going to try to focus on getting that mentality of being a goal scorer.”

Mission accomplished.

Patrosso fired six shots on goal and scored on three of them – it was the Komets’ second hat trick of the season – during a 4-1 victory over the Quad City Mallards, in front of 7,517 fans at Memorial Coliseum.

“Going into the weekend, I was focusing on being more aggressive,” said Patrosso, who has 25 assists. “I was trying to shoot the puck more and play a little bit more of my game, trying to be a little more deceptive, and I got a couple of bounces.”

As the Komets (25-20-5) basked in the glow of their 12th victory in 14 games, Fort Wayne defenseman Michael Ratchuk packed for his third assignment in Springfield, Mass., this season.

After the Komets’ parent club, the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, waived defenseman Mike Commodore on Friday, there was a dearth of players in their minor-league system, so Ratchuk was pulled up to AHL Springfield, for whom he has one goal in 15 games this season. Ratchuk said depending on what Columbus does before Monday’s NHL trade deadline he could be back in Fort Wayne as soon as Tuesday.

Ratchuk has six assists and a plus-2 rating in eight games with the Komets, who play league-worst Evansville (16-28-8) tonight at the Coliseum.

The IceMen will have to look out for Patrosso, who has six goals and 25 points in his last 18 games. On Friday, he scored during a 2-on-1 rush, putting his own rebound underneath goaltender Adam Russo, his former Port Huron teammate, and Patrosso also netted shots from the right and left circles.

“He was the only guy who could beat Russo,” Fort Wayne coach Al Sims said, neglecting to mention the goal scored by forward Sean O’Connor.

“Patrosso was unbelievable. Russo made some saves that were out of this world, … and he just kept keeping them in the game. Finally, Derek, who never shoots the puck, shot a couple of them and they went in. It was great for Derek’s confidence.”

Forward Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock had the only previous hat trick by a Fort Wayne player this season, Nov. 27, in a 5-4 victory over the Mallards.

Quad City (28-24-1) got its lone goal Friday from center Eric Giosa at 16:58 of the second period, trimming the Komets’ lead to 2-1 and ending their shutout streak at 126 minutes, 13 seconds. Fort Wayne has three shutouts in their last seven games.

Fort Wayne goaltender Nick Boucher (16-11-4) stopped 35 of 36 shots. Russo (13-9-0) stopped 30 of 34.

jcohn@jg.net

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