FORT WAYNE – The Komets had scored this many goals only four times this season, and only twice since Nov. 3, so coach Al Sims could be excused a moment of levity when he opened his press conference Saturday night.
Six goals? Is that how many we had? It usually takes us three games to get that, Sims said. That was an outburst.
The 6-5 victory over the Elmira Jackals – in the first meeting between the teams since January 2007 in the UHL – was rife with problems for the Komets. In particular, they squandered a two-goal lead late in the third period.
But in the final minute, less than three minutes after the Jackals had tied it, the Komets (16-13-2) showed uncharacteristic resiliency and got their victory.
The suddenly prolific forward, Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock, who had one goal and three assists, sent the puck past the Elmira net and center Jean-Michel Rizk swatted it in for his second goal of the night, to the delight of the 7,313 fans in the building to see the Komets’ third game in as many nights.
I think Elmira kind of relaxed with 40 seconds to go and they should have known better because everything Kaleigh touched tonight got to the net and it ended up in their net, Sims said.
Schrock, who had been scoreless in the first 22 games, has four goals in the last nine. He doubled his season point total Saturday.
It was a good win for us, Schrock said. We still made some mistakes. I took a bad penalty there late and it cost us, as we let them get back in the game. We were fortunate to get the win; we’ve got to play better with the lead.
The Jackals (14-14-3) tallied eight of the first 10 shots, including a goal by defenseman Kyle Bushee on a 20-foot wrist shot 4:05 into the game, just after a power play had expired.
After a Rizk forecheck pressured Elmira goalie Marc Cheverie into turning the puck over in the corner, Rizk redirected a Schrock shot in to tie it at 1 with a short-handed goal.
After a goal by Elmira’s Andrew Rowe, Fort Wayne defenseman Daniel Maggio netted a power-play goal after a crossing pass by forward Brandon Marino. Goals by Schrock, from 20 feet out, and Josh Brittain, who skated out of the right corner and tucked it in, gave Fort Wayne a 4-2 lead.
Bushee scored again, after a Fort Wayne turnover, but forward Matt Firman put the Komets up by backhanding a rebound into the net for a 5-3 lead at 9:01 of the third period.
The Komets, whose power-play was ranked worst in the league at 12.6 percent Thursday, have scored on four of their last eight opportunities, including 1 of 4 on Saturday. They also have scored short-handed goals in back-to-back games.
The Komets have won back-to-back games for only the second time since Nov. 9.
Komets goalie Charlie Effinger (7-6-1) stopped 24 of 29 shots. Cheverie (8-9-1) stopped 27 of 33 for the Jackals, who were 2 for 7 on power plays.
Notes: After being unable to attend five straight games following surgery on his foot for an abscess and infection, captain and assistant coach Colin Chaulk was back on the bench assisting head coach Al Sims. At a third straight Komets game, a fan proposed marriage and got an acceptance. Both linesmen – Dan Cohen and Chris Hoy – are from Fort Wayne.