INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – Komets captain Colin Chaulk was the man who once quipped, “Tired is for losers.”
His terrific pass in the second overtime, during a power play, set up defenseman Frankie DeAngelis for a goal into an open net at the 2:47 mark to give the Komets a 5-4 victory Thursday at the Independence Events Center to tie the best-of-seven Turner Conference finals at 2.
Game 5 is Saturday at the Independence Events Center.
After winning 3-1 on Wednesday – Jean-Michel Rizk scored twice – it was clear that the Komets were focused on coming out hard early in Game 4. They were hitting everything in sight and keeping the bulk of the play in the Missouri end, though the two biggest checks of the period came from Missouri’s Patrick Schafer on Jamie Lovell and Mike Wakita on Fort Wayne’s Bryant Molle, who left briefly with an injury.
It wasn’t until 8:25 of the second period that a team scored, when Missouri’s Ed McGrane scored with a low shot from the right circle.
The Komets answered quickly, though, as they had after falling behind the previous night. And just like in Game 3, it was Rizk who answered, with a shot from the right circle.
Within the span of 2:42, the Komets built what seemed to be an insurmountable 3-1 lead.
Center Brett Smith took the puck end-to-end before sending a pass to forward Leo Thomas, who buried it beneath Charlie Effinger at 15:32. Thomas had only one point, an assist, in the series.
And as the Mavericks were busy jawing with Chaulk in the Fort Wayne end, an odd-man rush culminated with forward Chris Auger scoring into an open net at 16:28.
Coming into the game, Effinger had stopped 116 of 123 shots and not allowed more than three goals in a game or two goals in a period during the series. On Thursday, he stopped 46 of 51.
Fort Wayne goalie Nick Boucher had stopped 60 of 66 shots in the first three games and then turned away 40 of 44.
But things certainly changed, as the Mavericks scored three straight goals.
Boucher was bested during a Mavericks power play 9:22 into the third, when forward Andrew Courtney scored off the rebound of a Kris Hogg shot, while Fort Wayne defenseman Jamie Milam was in the penalty box for a hit after the whistle. Courtney has three goals and a series-leading seven points.
Just after killing off another power play, the Komets allowed the equalizing goal to forward Dale Mahovsky, who redirected defenseman David Simoes’ shot from the point at 12:49.
After Komets defenseman Brent Henley got a penalty for tripping, the Mavericks scored a power play goal – and their fans thought the game was cinched – when forward John-Scott Dickson scored off a rebound with 1:04 remaining in regulation time for a 4-3 lead.
But the Komets forced overtime after Chaulk won a faceoff back to Milam, who stick-handled to the middle of the ice and put a slapshot into the bottom of the net with 22 seconds left.
Notes: The Komets played without defenseman David Starenky (shoulder) and forward Derek Roehl (healthy). … After getting a warning for using illegal gloves in Game 3, Chaulk appeared to be wearing new ones that complied with CHL rules Thursday. … The referee was Boone Bruggman.