TOLEDO — Right now, it seems not much can stop the Komets.
Not injuries. Not the opposition. Not even a wacky bit of scheduling.
In a game played in the morning at the Huntington Center, the Komets scored three unanswered goals in the third period to defeat the Toledo Walleye 4-2 and extend their winning streak to four games.
“We just realized in the third period that we had to play a little bit harder to get out with the win,” said forward Jean-Michel Rizk, who is on a three-game goal-scoring streak. “I don’t know if we were just expecting to get an easy one, but when we went down by a goal in the third, that woke us up and we went really hard at them.”
The Walleye took a 2-1 lead 7:06 into the third period on Byron Froese’s wrist shot from 45 feet out.
But the Komets responded 4:22 later, when center Colin Chaulk sent a pass to Josh Brittain, who attacked the net and slipped the puck in as he was upended from behind.
Less than a minute later, just off a faceoff in the offensive end, left wing Stephon Thorne slipped a backhand shot underneath goalie Kent Simpson for a 3-2 lead, and center Brett Smith added a late empty-net goal.
“Rizker made a good faceoff draw and I just digged the puck out – tried to help him win the draw – and I just closed my eyes and it somehow went in,” Thorne said.
A crowd of 6,802 fans – most of whom were raucous, screaming students – attended on School Appreciation Day.
“The crowd kind of got us into it a little bit,” Thorne said. “Maybe at 7 o’clock in the morning we didn’t like (having a morning game) very much, but it ended up just being another game.”
Said Komets coach Al Sims: “Once it started, I thought it was a 7:30 (p.m.) game. I really had no idea until I looked up at the clock at one point and it was noon. … You don’t really realize it. You just get into it and it’s just another game. Plus, it’s at a time we practice, so we’re used to skating at this time and it’s not too bad.”
The Komets (6-2-1) have won three straight on the road, a streak that began in Toledo last Friday.
The Walleye (4-5-1) are on a 0-3-1 streak.
“You can see the confidence in our team,” Sims said. “We go down 2-1 and we respond. We believe we can do it. And I know Toledo is sitting over there, (four) losses in a row and we get the tying goal and then we go ahead. They’ve got to be thinking, ‘Aw, here we go again.’ It’s just two ships going opposite ways. The longer we can keep this going, and this feeling going, the better.”
Notes: The Komets played without forward Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock, who had four teeth pulled this week. Defenseman Brent Henley donned the ‘A’ as an alternate captain in his place. Also out of the lineup were forward Eric Giosa (ankle), defenseman Ryan Hegarty (hand) and goalie Marco Cousineau (groin). …
Fort Wayne goalie Charlie Effinger (4-1-0) stopped 26 of 28 shots. Simpson (2-3-1) stopped 20 of 23. … The Komets were 1 for 2 on the power play – Rizk scored off a Daniel Maggio pass in the first period – and the Walleye were 0 for 4. …
Bob Ferguson, the assistant general manager of the Komets’ parent club, the Anaheim Ducks, attended the game. There was also a scout from the Chicago Blackhawks.