Fans of the Komets won’t be able to handle too many more of these types of games.
It’s just too nerve-wracking.
Just ask Komets coach Gary Graham, who after a 5-4 victory Friday over the Toledo Walleye, said: The way this season is going, if these guys are going to be like this every game, if I don’t end up sick in the hospital then I’ll be shocked.
The Komets, who have made a habit of blowing leads, took that to the extreme at Memorial Coliseum. They coughed up an early three-goal lead. They regained the lead, then saw Toledo left wing Scott Arnold force overtime by scoring off a rebound, with the goaltender pulled for an extra attacker, with 57 seconds remaining in regulation time.
In overtime, Komets center Mickey Lang sent a pass across the slot to forward Mike Vaskivuo, who blasted it into an open net at 1:09, giving him three points on the night and giving the Komets their first victory in four games at the Coliseum.
Obviously, Langer made a great play. He was patient and was holding it, made one extra move and he slid it over to me. I could have put that one in with my eyes closed, Vaskivuo said.
The Komets have held a lead in every game but one this season, but they are only 4-4-2. This is the first time they’ve won back-to-back games.
There’s definitely been a lot of highs and lows, said center Bobby Hughes, who scored twice, including the goal that put Fort Wayne up 4-3 on a power play 4:04 into the third period. That’s what we’ve been talking about, now and before the game. We can’t get too high and we can’t get too low or else you get yourself into trouble.
Thanks to goals by left wing Chris Auger on a breakaway, defenseman Nik Pokulok on a 50-foot shot and Hughes off a rebound, the Komets were up 3-0 by 3:24 of the second period.
The Komets had been dominant – they held Toledo (4-6-1) without a shot for the first half of the second period – but things turned on forward Daniel Koger’s picturesque goal at 18:23 of the second period, after he juked his way around Pokulok.
Toledo forward Trevor Parkes skated from the left boards and, as he was falling to the ice, sent a shot past goaltender Andrey Makarov 43 seconds later. And forward Marek Tvrdon scored off a rebound to tie it at 3 just 26 seconds into the third period.
It was up-and-down. I guess we maybe got too complacent. That’s natural early in the season. We’ve had our ups and downs, but it’s great we played 62 minutes today and things worked out, Vaskivuo said.
Vaskivuo’s assist on Hughes’ goal to put the Komets ahead 4-3 was a thing of beauty. He tried to send a centering pass to Lang, but it was blocked by defenseman Jason Lepine. Vaskivuo recovered by spinning and feeding Hughes in the slot for a goal on Jared Coreau. The Komets outshot the Walleye 42-31.
Notes: As part of Military Appreciation Weekend, the Komets donned special Stars and Stripes jerseys that will be auctioned off after tonight’s game against Greenville. The Komets were without four injured players – Tristan King (back/wrist), Jeremy Gates (ankle), Shawn Szydlowski (groin) and Simon Danis-Pepin (head) – and John Dunbar was a healthy scratch.