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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 11:20 pm

Komets 5, Wichita 3

Komets rally past Wichita for 6th straight win


Trevor Cheek led a wild third-period comeback as the Komets scored three unanswered goals and beat the Wichita Thunder 5-3 on Tuesday in Wichita, Kansas. It was Fort Wayne's sixth straight win.

Cheek, who totaled four points in the game, tied it at 3 with his second goal at 3:15 of the third period. Netminder Nick Riopel, who stopped 35 of 37 shots, was injured on the Cheek shot but remained in the game until 3:52 remained.

His replacement, Shane Starrett, allowed the winner at 18:45 when Ryan Culkin put in the rebound of another Cheek shot. The ECHL’s leading scorer, Shawn Szydlowski, had an empty net goal and Starrett finished with four saves on five shots.

Michael Houser stopped 25 of 28 shots for the Komets, who have won 17 of their last 19 games but remain one point back of Toledo for the Central Division lead. The Komets are 3-0-0 against Wichita and have outscored it 22-10 this season.

Chad Butcher opened the scoring for the Thunder 8:28 into the first period on a power play, with Curtis Leonard in the penalty box for kneeing.

Fort Wayne got its answer at 10:55 from Cheek, who has points in nine of his last 10 games and has at least one goal in seven of his last 10 games.

The Komets took a 2-1 lead when Justin Hodgman netted a shot 1:21 into the second period. Hodgman has scored a goal in three of his last four games and has a point in eight of his last nine games.

But the Thunder closed the second period with goals from Ryan Van Stralen at 5:36 and Jeremy Beaudry at 19:04 to take a 3-2 lead.

The Komets play the Kansas City Mavericks on Friday and Saturday in Independence, Missouri, before playing the Quad City Mallards on Sunday in Moline, Illinois.