For more on the Komets, follow Blake Sebring on Twitter at www.twitter.com/blakesebring and at his blog www.tailingthekomets.com.
Gwinnett at Komets
Face-off: 8 p.m. Friday
Radio: WOWO, 1190-AM
The Fort Wayne Komets may wear themselves and their fans out at this pace, but their coach loves that the team played two nail-biting games over the weekend.
``Every game seems like a war, so it's great for our team because they are getting mentally tough and physically tough right off the get-go,'' Komets coach Al Sims said after Saturday's 4-3 shootout win over Evansville. ``I think it's great. The tougher the games at the beginning of the season, the better. It makes your team reach down and have to pull something out early in the season when they aren't quite together yet. I think wins like this are huge.''
The Komets improved to 2-0-1 over their last three games, but both Friday's shootout loss at Kalamazoo and Saturday's home win against Evansville were bitterly contested with plenty of hitting, fighting and arguments with referee Andy Thackaberry who called both games.
The Komets led 1-0 on Brett Smith's first-period goal, but then Evansville's Patrick Kennedy bowled over Komets defenseman Ryan Hegarty in front of the Fort Wayne net to set up a Tyler Shattock goal. Evansville's Brett Sonne scored on a two-man power play in the second to give the IceMen the lead.
Fort Wayne thought it had control after Brandon Marino set up Josh Brittain for a pretty goal with 8:23 remaining in regulation, but Kennedy scored with 6:39 left to force overtime and the shootout.
After being held scoreless in Friday's shootout, Sims mixed up his lineup on Saturday and Brittain, J.M. Rizk and Colin Chaulk scored to help goaltender Marco Cousineau who allowed two Evansville scores. That was after Marino missed on the first Fort Wayne try.
``When the first guy misses... but he said it was wide open and he just missed the net,'' Sims said. ``That kind of gave us some confidence. We wanted to get Rizker involved and get his confidence in scoring and he got one. Chaulker can't pass it on a shootout so he has to shoot and he has a great shot. He managed to get one in, and Britts is hot right now.''
The Komets out-shot the IceMen which is remarkable considering the IceMen had nine power-play chances to Fort Wayne's three.
``I thought it was big, huge win for us,'' Sims said.
The Komets are off until Friday when they host Gwinnett in the first of two games.