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  • Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Komets forward Travis Ewanyk, bottom, fires a shot in the first period that will get past goaltender Doug Carr at Memorial Coliseum. Colin Mulvey, top left, battles for position with the Wheeling Nailers' Danny Fick as Keevin Cutting is on his knees. 

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Komets' Mike Cazzola fights to keep ahead of Wheeling's Danny Fick during a face off in the second period of Saturday's game against Wheeling at the Memorial Coliseum.

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Komets' Dan Milan takes a shot on goal in the first period of Saturday's game against Wheeling at the Memorial Coliseum.

  • Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Referee Stephen Thomson is pinned against the boards by Komets forward Mason Baptista, left, and Wheeling's Adam Kruse, as Travis Ewanyk, right, gets ready to play the puck. 

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Komets' Trevor Cheek takes a shot on goal with Wheeling's goalie Doug Carr blocking the puck in the first period of Saturday's game against Wheeling at the Memorial Coliseum.

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Trevor Cheek, of the Komets, keeps his eye on the goal as he brings the puck down the ice in the first period of Saturday's game against Wheeling at the Memorial Coliseum.

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Mike Embach, of the Komets, fights for control with Danny Fick in front of Wheeling's goal in the first period of Saturday's game against Wheeling at the Memorial Coliseum.

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Komets' Mike Cazzola gives Wheeling's Michael Websteer a shove in the second period of Saturday's game against Wheeling at the Memorial Coliseum.

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Komets' Mike Cazzola fights through Wheeling's defense in the first period of Saturday's game at the Memorial Coliseum.

  • Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Komets Colin Mulvey, left, and Mason Baptista get in position for a rebound but the puck slides wide of goaltender Doug Carr of the Wheeling Nailers on Saturday night at Memorial Coliseum. 

  • Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Komets Kyle Follmer, left, Coliin Mulvey and Travis Ewanyk, bottom, celebrate after Ewaynk scored in the first period on Wheeling Nailers goalie Doug Carr, right, as Danny Fick, middle, and Christian Hilbrich look on at Memorial Coliseum. 

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Komets' Will Weber takes a shot on goal in the first period of Saturday's game against Wheeling at the Memorial Coliseum.

  • Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette The Komets celebrate a first-period goal by Travis Ewanyk, bottom, at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night. Pictured are Kyle Follmer, left, and Colin Mulvey of the Komets, while Wheeling's Danny Fick is on the ice and goalie Doug Carr looks for the puck. 

  • Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette The puck got behind Komets goaltender Garrett Bartus but, because it hit the post, sailed wide of the net at Memorial Coliseum. Jason Binkley and Travis Ewanyk defend, as Adam Krause and Christian Hilbrich, top left, of the Wheeling Nailers attack. 

  • Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Behind Wheeling Nailers goalie Doug Carr, left, the Komets' Mason Baptista battles for the puck with Keevin Cutting, middle, and Danny Fick.

Saturday, March 04, 2017 8:49 pm

'Sense of confidence' drives Komets

Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette

I’ve never seen a team that seems to be at its most comfortable down two goals. But that sums up the Komets right now, as they’ve come back from two-goal deficits to beat the Wheeling Nailers 4-3 in back-to-back games.

Tonight, it was Trevor Cheek who had the game-winning power-play goal, redirecting a Shawn Szydlowski shot. But the hero was really goaltender Garrett Bartus, who stopped two breakaways and a couple of other shots from point-blank range in the third period, when Fort Wayne had the only three goals.

(Video highlights are above.)

“Everyone has to play their part,” forward Mason Baptista said. “Bartsy makes these like massive saves, the D make clean hits and get the puck out, and the forwards generate offense. That’s everyone doing their part and that’s how you win games. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, if everyone does their job, shift by shift, play by play, we’ll work our way back from any situation. And that’s that confidence that you’re starting to see a lot more of now, as the team solidifies.”

After a game like that, one might think Bartus would obviously play in Sunday’s 5 p.m. game against the Nailers. Coach Gary Graham was asked that very question and declined to answer.

So why are the Komets so good when down two?

“It’s more of this sense of confidence regardless of what situation the game is in,” Baptista said. “We can be up two, down two, we always want to play with this confidence regardless of the situation we’re in. It’s a winning mentality.

“It’s very similar to this Chicago Blackhawks interview I remember, when they were down to Detroit in a series. The dressing room was calm. It wasn’t super intense. It was a bunch of younger players. And they knew that they had the skill set to win. They just had to go out and perform and that’s what we do.”

-- I would expect a physical game Sunday, even if it will be the Nailers’ third game in the span of 48 hours. These teams have grown a healthy dislike for one another.

-- It’s kind of funny that Garrett Meurs has done a good job of getting under the Komets’ skins. Of all teams, they should know that he’ll push the limit. That’s what made him so good in Fort Wayne.

-- I’ve heard that a Komets player made a throat-slashing gesture in the game tonight. I didn’t see it myself. If it did happen, then, yes, that could draw discipline from the league such as a fine. So we’ll keep an eye on that situation.

-- Former Komets captain Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock will be dancing during an intermission Sunday. He’s taking part in the Reason to Dance, Reason for Hope event Friday in Indianapolis. Fans can help him reach his goal to raise money for Riley’s Children’s Hospital by bidding on a jersey at the game or by visiting here: http://reasontodance.org/celebrities/kaleigh-schrock/

jcohn@jg.net