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The Journal Gazette

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets left wing Garrett Thompson takes a shot during the first period Saturday. Quad City goalie Ivan Kulbakov looks to make the save.

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets right wing Artur Tyanulin sets up for a pass in the first period against Quad City at the Coliseum on Saturday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets defenseman Dan Maggio sets up for a shot in the first period against Quad City at the Coliseum on Saturday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets center Jamie Schaafsma fights to get the puck past Mallards goalie Ivan Kulbakov during the first period Saturday at Memorial Coliseum. 

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets forward Zac Larraza races for the puck against a Mallards defender in the first period at the Coliseum on Saturday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets center Marco Roy sets up a play in the first period against Quad City at the Coliseum on Saturday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets center Mason Baptista moves the puck down the ice in the first period against Quad City at the Coliseum on Saturday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets center Dennis Kravchenko sets up for a shot at the goal in the first period against Quad City at the Coliseum on Saturday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets center Dennis Kravchenko takes a shot at the net at the beginning of the second period against Quad City at the Coliseum on Saturday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets left wing Taylor Crunk fights for the puck against a Mallards defender in the second period at the Coliseum on Saturday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets defenseman Bobby Shea sets up to pass the puck in the first period against Quad City at the Coliseum on Saturday.  

Sunday, November 05, 2017 1:00 am

Komets 7 Quad City 1

New mindset, new result for K's

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Komets at Kalamazoo

When: 3 p.m. today

Radio: 1380 FM, 100.9 FM

With his team in danger of losing a fourth straight game for the first time since the spring of 2013, Komets coach Gary Graham told the players Saturday they “need to have ice bags on every guy at the end of this game.”

Translation: The Komets needed to be physical, willing to take punishment in front of the opposing net, muscle their way to victory.

“We (said we) 'have to earn a win right now,' ” Graham said, “and the guys were buying in to that.”

The Komets beat the Quad City Mallards 7-1, in front of 7,939 fans at Memorial Coliseum, led by two goals apiece from Marco Roy, Garrett Thompson and Daniel Maggio, who played forward instead of his usual defensive position.

“Everything was going our way tonight, just all the bounces and everything,” said Maggio, a night after the Komets looked flat in a 4-2 loss Friday to the Adirondack Thunder. “We had a mindset that there was no way we were going to lose this game tonight, in front of the home fans and the great crowd. I'm glad everyone came to play.”

There were changes to the lineup that helped. Defenseman Cody Sol was back from an upper-body injury, forward Taylor Crunk was in and defenseman Ryan Lowney played his first game of the season. Goaltender Garrett Bartus stopped 26 shots in his second game of the season. Joining injured forwards Justin Hodgman and Gabriel Desjardins in the stands were Shawn Szydlowski (hip) and healthy scratches Tyson Fawcett and Jalen Smereck.

The Komets (3-2-1) broke a spell of netting only two goals in three straight games.

“Our morning skate was a lot different than what we normally do. It involved getting to the net a lot with the drills we did this morning. And the guys bought in. We were going to the net in waves like I've never seen before,” said Graham, whose team will play its first road game of the season at 3 p.m. today at Kalamazoo.

Captain Jamie Schaafsma had called for a higher “compete level” after Friday's loss and Graham raved about the sacrifices made by the Komets in outshooting the Mallards 43-27.

“How about (Dennis) Kravchenko, in a 5-1 game, laying down and sacrificing and getting a shot block? And (Thompson) stepping up and fighting when a guy (Kevin Kirisits) wants to go? These are the things we talked about needing in order to get out of the losing funk that we were in,” Graham said.

The memorable goal of the night came when Roy made it 4-1 at 17:23 of the first period by getting to his own rebound and flipping the puck in as he was dumped from behind by Brayden Low of Quad City (4-4-0).

Defenseman Jason Binkley, who had a goal and three assists, has totaled one goal and nine points this season. Binkley and Sol are tied for the ECHL lead among defensemen with 1.5 points per game.

Mallards goalie Ivan Kulbakov stopped 22 of 27 shots before being pulled after Roy's second goal, 9:40 into the second period. Alex Sakellaropoulos, who was cut by the Komets during training camp, stopped 14 of 16 in relief.

“All the details that we didn't do the last few games, we did,” Roy said. “You saw the score; we're a good team when we play like that.”

jcohn@jg.net