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K's prevail, at last

The Komets coughed up a two-goal lead - to the worst team in the Eastern Conference - but they answered back strongly for a 6-3 victory over the Evansville IceMen on Wednesday at Memorial Coliseum.

Dylan Clarke had a hat trick for Evansville, tying it at 3 in the third period.

But rebound goals by Dan Nycholat and John Dunbar, followed by a Matt Firman goal, gave Fort Wayne the victory.

"I was definitely frustrated," goaltender Charlie Effinger said of giving up the lead. "I still thought we could win the game, but it was deflating to give up the lead in the third period. And the way that the Dunbar line answered back – just boom, boom – it was a huge boost of confidence. For me, having a little bit of a layoff, it's never easy, but to have those guys answer back, I felt like, 'Let's just do our jobs the rest of the way and we'll be fine here."

Effinger, who stopped 30 of 33 shots, had sat out the previous eight games over almost a month. He took the spot of goalie Jeff Deslauriers, who had played in eight straight games but was called up by Anaheim of the NHL on Tuesday.

As an interesting sidenote, Deslauriers showed up 14 minutes late to the Ducks' 2-1 victory Tuesday at Minnesota. The emergency goalie he replaced was Zach Sikich, who played for the Komets in 2005-06, had never past the Double-A level of hockey and retired in 2007.

"They were threatening to tie it all game, and they finally did. But our team responded," Fort Wayne coach Al Sims said. "You can't say enough about the effort. I thought we outplayed them and deserved the win. It was great for Charlie to get a win. You could tell he had a little bit of rust on him ... but he did a good job of shutting them down after that one goal in the third period."

Justin A. Cohn, pro sports coordinator for The Journal Gazette, has been covering the Fort Wayne Komets since 1997. His reporting includes game stories from home and away, features about the players and personalities associated with the Komets, plus coverage of issues affecting hockey at all levels. A native of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Cohn graduated from Emory University in Atlanta. He can be reached at 260-461-8429 or by email at jcohn@jg.net.

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