All the Komets fans wanted to see Friday was Larry Sterling, the Dayton goaltender they love to razz.
Now, they probably dont want to see him again.
Sterling stopped 45 of 47 shots in a 3-2 victory over Fort Wayne in front of 7,439 fans at Memorial Coliseum.
Yeah, I enjoy playing against Larry and so do the fans here in Fort Wayne," said Komets captain Colin Chaulk, one of several Komets who exchanged words with Sterling during the game. He was on tonight. He was sucking up rebounds, and the rebounds he was letting go, we werent there.
Sterling played for Port Huron when the Icehawks twice gave up 3-1 leads in playoff series losses to Fort Wayne, including in the 2008 Turner Cup finals.
Since then, chants of Larry, Larry, have been commonplace whenever hes in town. But he hadnt played at the Coliseum this season before Friday, when the Komets got power play goals from Chaulk and Artem Podshendyalov.
For the Turner Conference-leading Komets (20-9-1), the concern wasnt Sterling as much as shot selection. They came into the night averaging a CHL-best 3.69 goals but lost their second straight game after scoring only twice for the second time in a row.
I dont think we cant be firing shots from the perimeter, just one-and-done all night, Chaulk said. We have to be sending guys to the net. Im a guy that passes up opportunities to shoot all the time, which is obviously a bad habit, but when you shoot the puck you have to make good shot selection.
If youre just throwing in pucks from outside the blue line and the goalie is just playing bat-catcher, thats giving him confidence and thats not good.
Dayton (12-13-6) got goals from Jonathan Ornelas, Kyle Bochek and Charlie Townsend, who broke a 2-goal tie 6:52 into the third period. During an odd-man rush, he took a pass from Ornelas, faked goaltender Nick Boucher (26 saves) to the ice, then slipped the puck just inside the goalpost.
I give Dayton credit. They got some bounces but made some great plays, Fort Wayne coach Al Sims said. That winning goal was an unbelievable play by Townsend.
For him to deke Boucher like that and put the thing in with a guy all over him, youve got to give credit to him.
The weekend could get interesting after a 10-play scrum ended Fridays game. The teams play today in Dayton and Sunday at the Coliseum.
So, the fans will get another chance to taunt Sterling.
We cant be throwing the puck 2 1/2 feet above the ice, because thats above his pads and right in his breadbox, Chaulk said. Its got to be 10, 11 inches off the ice, where theres a rebound. And anything lower than that, the (defense) can block it. But, hey, its a lot easier said than done.
Note: The Komets placed forward Chris Auger on injured reserve with concussion symptoms.