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  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Komets' Mike Embach, right, and Brampton's Willie Corrin fight for the puck during the first period of the Komets vs. Brampton hockey game at Memorial Coliseum on Friday. GALLERY

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Komets' Curtis Leonard, left, and Brampton's Chris Leveille chase after the puck during the first period of the Komets vs. Brampton hockey game at Memorial Coliseum on Friday. GALLERY

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Komets' Jason Binkley prepares to pass the puck to a teammate during the second period of the Komets vs. Brampton hockey game at Memorial Coliseum on Friday. GALLERY  

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Komets' Mike Embach, right, tries to get the puck away from Brampton's Tim Billingsley during the second period of the Komets vs. Brampton hockey game at Memorial Coliseum on Friday. GALLERY  

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Komets' Brady Vail, right, tries to get the puck away from Brampton's Mike Folkes during the first period of the Komets vs. Brampton hockey game at Memorial Coliseum on Friday. GALLERY  

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Komets' Kyle Thomas, right, steers the puck and tries to push Brampton's David Pacan away from him during the first period of the Komets vs. Brampton hockey game at Memorial Coliseum on Friday. GALLERY  

Friday, December 23, 2016 7:41 pm

Komets dominated by Beast

Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette

Even when the Brampton Beast was one of the worst teams in the ECHL, the Komets had their struggles with it. Now, the Beast is one of the league’s best and the Komets learned they can’t mess around with it.

After an absolute dominating performance to begin the game, the Beast defeated the Komets 6-1, in front of 7,009 spectators at Memorial Coliseum tonight.

The Komets were outshot 38-12. They hadn’t totaled fewer than 18 shots in a previous game this season and it’s only the second time in 13 home games they’ve been outshot.

Over the last two seasons, the Komets are 2-2-2 against the Beast, which last season had the second-worst record in the ECHL, ahead of only Wichita.

The Komets had lost 5-4 in overtime on Nov. 6 to the Beast, which is in its second season of being coached by former Komets captain Colin Chaulk.

Brampton (17-8-3) has won four in a row and nine of its last 10.

The Komets (16-8-3) came in on a 7-2-1 surge, but their lineup continues to be decimated by injuries and call-ups. The latest additions to the absent list are Garrett Thompson (lower body) and Will Weber (groin). They joined Trevor Cheek (with Tucson of higher-level American Hockey League), Cody Sol (knee), Gabriel Beaupre (concussion), Taylor Crunk (ankle) and goalie Pat Nagle (ankle). Sol and Thompson are probably in the worst shape, weeks from returning, though the Komets continue to treat Nagle’s return from a high ankle sprain carefully since it’s a notoriously difficult injury to get healed.

Fort Wayne’s night began with a woeful first period in which it totaled as many shots on goal as goals allowed – four – while the Beast peppered the net with 22 shots.

The Komets were outshot 16-0 before Brady Vail was credited with their first shot at 12:40 – even that shouldn’t have counted since it hit the post – and after Brandon Marino had chipped the puck into the top of the net for a 1-0 lead. Marino led the ECHL in scoring with 88 points for the Komets in 2012-13.

After the Komets finally started getting some shots at Beast goalie Andrew D’Agostini, they gained some confidence – Kyle Thomas’ cross-ice pass set up Mike Embach for a short-handed goal at the end of an odd-man rush at 16:00 – but the momentum didn’t last long.

Just 28 seconds after allowing the game to be tied, a flurry of Beast offense was ignited and it netted three goals in the span of four shots: Chris Auger, who helped Fort Wayne to the 2012 Central Hockey League championship, redirected a shot into the top of the net; Chris Leveille’s blast from the left circle went in; and Willie Corrin took advantage of a screen by a Fort Wayne defenseman to score from the blue line.

After stopping 18 of 22 shots in the first 19:14, Fort Wayne goaltender Garrett Bartus was replaced by Eric Hartzell. Bartus, who came into the night with a 5-0-1 record, 2.37 goals-against average, .905 save percentage and one shutout, didn’t have much defensive help and even stopped both Marino and Tim Billingsley during the same 2-on-1 rush.

While the score remained 4-1 after two periods, Brampton still had a commanding 27-10 lead in shots. And the Beast took advantage of a Fort Wayne turnover to make it 5-1 on a David Vallorani goal 2:56 into the third period, during which Fort Wayne took 16 minutes to get a shot.

Brampton rookie Ian Harris, a native of Fort Wayne, was in the starting lineup. It was his first regular-season game at the Coliseum, though he played there in the preseason game before the Beast waived and then re-signed him.

The Komets are off until Tuesday night’s game at the Coliseum against the Indy Fuel.

Embach has scored in back-to-back games, on the heels of netting only one goal with six assists in his previous 14 games.

jcohn@jg.net