FORT WAYNE – Kenton Miller’s first goal with the Komets came at an awfully good time.
You could say I was a little overdue, yeah, Miller said Tuesday night, after his 20-foot shot at 7:31 of the third period was the game winner, as the Komets defeated the Toledo Walleye 5-3 at Memorial Coliseum.
Mike Embach added an empty-netter for the Komets, in front of a crowd of 9,088.
I was frustrated before but I wasn’t anymore, said Miller, who has played 19 games with Fort Wayne. I was so over it and just thinking, it’s going to eventually go in.
The game began with a fight between Fort Wayne’s Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock and his former linemate, Stephon Thorne, who helped Fort Wayne to the 2012 CHL title.
Then Chris Auger opened the scoring for Fort Wayne at 1:19, putting in the rebound of a Brandon Marino shot.
The Walleye got back-to-back goals in the span of 26 seconds – Trevor Parkes scored on a 2-on-1 rush and David Gilbert buried a crossing pass – for a 2-1 lead.
The Komets responded two minutes later, though, when Marino’s pass from behind the net found the stick of Scott Fleming and the puck was snapped into the net at 15:21 of the first period.
Kevin Lynch regained the lead for Toledo by scoring just off a faceoff 3:25 into the second period, but Marino tied it at 3 just 57 seconds later when goaltender Hannu Toivonen was sprawled on the ice and unable to stop the puck flicked top-shelf.
We kept responding. We kept going down and we kept responding and stayed positive, Fort Wayne coach Gary Graham said.
Note: Goalie Cody Reichard, who had been on the trading block since the Komets acquired goalie Ben Meisner on Dec. 26, was traded to the Utah Grizzlies.
Graham said the Komets will receive future considerations for Reichard, who is from Celina, Ohio, and was 2-4-3 with a 3.47 goals-against average and a .898 save percentage this season.
The Komets had acquired Meisner from Utah for forward Phil Mangan. Andrey Makarov remains the Komets’ No. 1 goalie.