Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Jamie Schaafsma of the Komets fights for posession with Nick Latta of Wichita during the second period at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette The Komets celebrate after their first goal against Wichita in the first period at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Shawn Szydlowski of the Komets battles Nolan Descoteaux for the puck during the first period at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette The Komets struggle to stop Wichita’s advance during the first period at the Coliseum Saturday night.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Mason Baptista of the Komets battles Nolan Descoteaux of Wichita for control of the puck during the first period at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Garrett Thompson of the Komets picks off a pass from the Wichita Thunder during the second period at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Wichita's Chad Butcher shoots during the first period at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.
Saturday, March 24, 2018 10:50 pm
Desjardins' OT goal cements K's victory
JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette
The last thing a hockey team wants to do is squander a hat trick.
Gabriel Desjardins made sure the Komets didn’t tonight.
He snapped a shot into the net from 40 feet out while falling to the ice during the 3-on-3 overtime, cementing a 5-4 victory over the Wichita Thunder that saw six goals scored on special teams, three of them on power plays by Fort Wayne’s Garrett Thompson at Memorial Coliseum.
The Komets are 6-0 when a player has a hat trick this season.
More importantly, the victory snapped Fort Wayne’s four-game losing streak. Two of those losses had come in overtime.
It was Thompson’s second hat trick of the season – he had one Dec. 6 in a 5-2 victory over the division-leading Toledo Walleye. Desjardins is the only other Fort Wayne player with two hat tricks this season.
A double-minor penalty on Wichita’s Jeremy Beaudry and the resulting four-minute power play didn’t pay off the way the Komets would have hoped; by the end of it they were tied at 1.
Though Thompson scored on a one-timer at 13:51, thanks to captain Jamie Schaafsma’s setup from the goal line, the Thunder answered 29 seconds later on a Ralph Cuddemi short-handed goal.
With Beaudry again in the penalty box, this time for holding, the Thunder again got a short-handed goal with Dyson Stevenson netting a shot at the end of a 2-on-1 rush.
Thompson scored a power-play goal identical to his first, except this time it was set up by a Dennis Kravchenko pass to tie it at 2 at 1:13 of the second period after Ryan Van Stralen got penalized for tripping by referee Stephen Thomson.
Thompson’s third goal came at 4:55, when he fired a low shot from the right circle past goaltender Nick Riopel with Wichita’s Etienne Boutet serving a penalty for delay of game because he’d shot the puck into the stands.
The sixth goal of the game, which tied it at 3, was also the sixth special-team goal of the night. Wichita’s Mark MacMillan sent a shot from the right circle past goalie Garrett Bartus with Ryan Lowney serving a interference penalty.
Fort Wayne’s Daniel Maggio netted a shot from the blue line 3:42 into the third period – the first goal of the game not on special teams – but Wichita’s Chad Butcher answered at 10:56.
Fort Wayne outshot Wichita 35-33 in regulation time.