FORT WAYNE – The pre-game excitement revolved around the presence of Mike Emrick, the national voice of hockey in the U.S. who works for NBC. The native of Lafontaine broadcast the Komets game against Evansville on WOWO-AM 1190 with Bob Chase and Robbie Irons after being hounded for autographs at Memorial Coliseum early Friday night.
But there was eventually a game to be played – a pretty exciting one, the 4,500th in Komets history – against the rival IceMen.
Led by two goals and an assist from left wing Josh Brittain, the Komets won 5-2 for their fifth victory in a row.
Brittain has six goals in the last seven games.
Ive really found my groove, said Brittain, who had only 11 goals in his first two professional seasons with Elmira of the ECHL and Syracuse of the higher-level American Hockey League.
I worked really hard over the summer, and Im really trying to shape my game. Obviously, I have some great linemates, and Brandon Marino and (Colin Chaulk) are just finding me out there on the ice. Theyre making it easy for me.
Evansville opened the scoring 9:29 into the game, during a power play, when defenseman Austin Madaiskys shot from the blue line ricocheted off a Fort Wayne player and skirted into the net.
Things soon got testy.
Fort Waynes Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock, who had four teeth pulled this week and missed Wednesdays 4-2 victory at Toledo because of it, fought Daniel Tetrault 11:59 into the game. Then, after getting upended in the corner, Fort Waynes Colton Hayes speared and then fought Mark Cody. Hayes was ejected for the spear.
Early in the game, it didnt seem like there was much fight on both sides, Chaulk said. We were just going back and forth. Evansville (2-9-1) is a team thats going through some tough times and we knew we had to get them struggling or get them behind a little bit. We didnt want to give them (more) momentum.
The Komets (7-2-1) dominated the second period – outshooting the IceMen 18-5 – and they got the equalizer at 4:43 from Brittain, who has scored in three straight.
Marino put the Komets ahead less then 7 minutes later, scoring on a rebound.
In the second period, we really dominated, Komets coach Al Sims said. We got things to the net, got ourselves to the net and both goals were rebound goals. Up 2-1 going into the third period, we have a lot of confidence that we can win those games.
In the third period, forward Jean-Michel Rizk scored for the fourth straight game, and Colin Chaulk scored his first of the season. Brittain added an empty-netter.
Kenny Reiter stopped 22 shots for Fort Wayne. Paul Karpowich stopped 29 for Evansville.
The Komets played without forwards Eric Giosa (ankle) and Matt Kennedy (leg), defenseman Ryan Hegarty (hand) and goalie Marco Cousineau (groin).