FORT WAYNE – For a spell, the Komets didn’t look like a team that’s atop the Turner Conference and chasing a CHL championship. Losing seven of 12 games in January left fans and players with questions.
But now, they look solid again.
A commanding 4-1 victory over the Quad City Mallards, in front of 9,886 fans at Memorial Coliseum, was Fort Wayne’s fourth victory in a row and fifth over its last six games.
I think everyone has just kind of changed their attitude and is managing the puck and holding the puck, said center Colin Chaulk, who scored twice and had an assist. It’s like football; if you’ve got the time of possession, it’s pretty tough for the other team to score.
The Komets outshot Quad City 32-27 and also got goals from center Brett Smith on a short-handed breakaway and defenseman Jamie Milam on a 45-foot slap shot during a power play.
The Komets also had two goals waved off, had a handful of shots go off the crossbar or goalposts and won both fights – Bryant Molle over John Snowden and David Starenky against Jason Kostadine.
Our team is getting their confidence back, getting their swagger back, said Fort Wayne coach Al Sims, whose team maintained its two-point lead over Evansville and Missouri in the conference.
Chaulk opened the scoring 10:01 into the first period, taking a short pass from forward Chris Auger, who had just come from behind the net, and sending it past goaltender David Brown.
I thought we dominated that team physically. And that’s what we have to do against Quad City, a smaller team that is very quick. That’s the only way to slow them down, Sims said. And I think the second period was maybe the best period we’ve played all season long.
In the second, Fort Wayne (29-13-2) outshot Quad City 18-5 and got all three goals. Chaulk’s second goal, when he fought his way through a crowd to poke the puck underneath Brown and just over the goal line, cemented the victory.
In the third period, the Mallards (25-19-1) got a goal from Snowden during a 5-on-3 power play.
Everybody was sharp, and everybody played well. When we play like that, we’re tough to beat, said Sims, whose Komets play tonight at Dayton and Sunday at Bloomington, Ill.
Notes: Auger, who had two assists, extended his point-scoring streak to seven games, tied for the fifth longest in the CHL this season. He’s tallied 12 points during the run. But Auger’s goal-scoring streak ended at three games.
Fort Wayne goaltender Nick Boucher (26-9-1) made 26 saves. Brown (10-6-0) had 28. The Komets are 5-1-0 against the Mallards this season.