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Komets win in OT

Forward Mike Vaskivuo kept bringing the Komets back.

And his goal 1 minute, 9 seconds into overtime Friday gave Fort Wayne a 5-4 victory in a back-and-forth game at Memorial Coliseum that saw the Komets cough up leads twice.

The Komets improved to 4-4-2, and got their first victory in four games at the Coliseum, led by Vaskivuo's three-point night.

Toledo dropped to 4-6-1.

Forward Bobby Hughes' second goal of the game had given the Komets a 4-3 lead and, most of the building must have thought, the victory.

It started when Vaskivuo's centering pass was blocked by defenseman Jason Lepine during a power play. Vaskivuo recovered quickly, flicking a pass to Hughes for a goal at 4:04 of the third period.

But the Walleye answered at 19:03, with the goalie pulled for an extra attacker, when Scott Arnold scored off the rebound of a shot from the blue line.

As part of Military Appreciation Weekend, the Komets are wearing special Stars-and-Stripes jerseys that will be auctioned off.

Not everyone got the chance Friday.

The Komets were without four injured players – Tristan King (back/wrist), Jeremy Gates (ankle), Shawn Szydlowski (groin), Simon Danis-Pepin (head) – and John Dunbar was a healthy scratch.

The Komets have held a lead in nine of their 10 games, and forward Chris Auger was the one who put them up with a breakaway goal 7:53 into the first period.

Fort Wayne continued to dominate well into the second period – the Walleye didn't get a shot in the first 10:05 of the frame – and along the way defenseman Nik Pokulok scored on a 50-foot shot and Hughes off a rebound for a 3-0 Komets lead.

The Walleye did what so many opponents of the Komets have done this season – it came back.

Forward Daniel Koger had a beautiful goal at 18:23 of the second period, after he juked and deked and faked every which around Pokulok.

And 43 seconds later, Toledo forward Trevor Parkes skated from the left boards and, as he was falling to the ice, sent a shot past goaltender Andrey Makarov.

The Walleye tied it at 3 just 26 seconds into the third period, when forward Marek Tvrdon scored off a rebound.

The Komets play host to Greenville on Saturday at the Coliseum, where there were 6,839 fans to see them play the Walleye.

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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