Cole Kehler stopped 32 shots – including all 11 he faced in the third period – to propel the Komets to a 3-2 victory over the Kalamazoo Wings on Tuesday night in front of 1,519 fans at Wings Event Center, at Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Brett McKenzie netted the winning goal 18:45 into the second period on a one-timer in front, after he was set up by Brad Morrison’s pass from behind the net. Morrison had sparked the entire offensive possession by stealing the puck in his own zone.
The Komets (27-21-8) won for the sixth time in their last eight games and improved to 9-3-1 against the Wings (20-26-8).
The Komets are five points back of Toledo for second place in the Central Division with the teams meeting Friday and Saturday in Ohio, though the Walleye has played five fewer games. Indy is five points back of Fort Wayne, which has 16 games left in the regular season.
Kalamazoo’s Justin Taylor opened the scoring at the end of an odd-man rush 14:14 into the first period, but Fort Wayne’s Anthony Petruzzelli answered by stationing himself outside the crease and swatting the puck past goalie Jake Hildebrand 1:06 into the second period.
Fort Wayne’s Kyle Haas, who returned from his two-game suspension for a postgame fight with Kalamazoo’s Ben Wilson, skated at forward and made it 2-1 with a shot from the left circle at 10:39.
Kalamazoo’s Cory Dunn tied it at 11:35. Hildebrand had 32 saves, too.
The Wings were 0 for 3 on power plays, including one after Haas took an interference penalty with 55 seconds left in the game. The Komets, who were without injured forward Shawn Szydlowski, were 0 for 1.