The kids are here to stay. And if you’re a Komets’ fan, that’s probably a good thing.
Mike Hoban, one of seven players recently called from lower levels to fill out the Komets’ roster, netted the game-winning overtime goal Sunday, in a 3-2 victory over the division-leading Cincinnati Cyclones at Memorial Coliseum.
“That’s what four-on-four (overtime) hockey is all about. There’s a lot of open space, extra time with the puck,” said Hoban, 23, who skated unfettered down the right side of the ice before blasting a 25 foot shot between the legs of goaltender Brian Foster.
“I got a good pass from Nick (Wheeler) going up the ice and I just took advantage of it.”
The other goals in the game came from 22-year-old Brayden Metz, who like Hoban had been with Dayton of the Federal Hockey League, and 21-year-old John Dunbar, up from Pensacola of the Southern Professional Hockey League.
“Everyone was up for the game and wanted to play their best,” said Hoban, after the Komets (21-17-2) won 2 of 3 against the Cyclones (22-12-4) in three days. “There’s a lot of energy. We want to make simple plays. It worked out in the end for us.”
Goaltender Kenny Reiter stopped 41 of 43 shots for Fort Wayne. Foster turned away 20 of 23.
“I felt pretty good in there. The past two games I’ve played, I’ve felt pretty solid, pretty zoned in,” said Reiter, who stopped 32 shots in the 2-1 shootout victory Friday. “I’m just here to stop pucks and help the team win.”
After the game, forwards Brandon Marino and Jean-Michel Rizk were called up to Norfolk of the American Hockey League. Marino has 12 goals and a team-leading 44 points in 40 games. Rizk has a team-leading 15 goals and 24 points in 40 games.
Fort Wayne went up on Metz’s goal, which came off the rebound of a Jeremy Gates shot. And Dunbar scored, during a power play, on the rebound of a Scott Kishel shot.
The Cyclones answered with Mathieu Aubin’s shot from the right circle, during a power play, and Michael Pelech’s goal at the end of an odd-man rush with the Cyclones short-handed.
“I saw the puck well tonight, except for the first goal,” Reiter said. “That’s team defense, as well, because our guys are moving their guys out in front and letting me see the puck. Most of all, the guys are clearing out the second opportunities.”
The Komets pulled within four points of Cincinnati for first place in the North Division, though the Cyclones have played two fewer games.
“It was a great hockey game,” Fort Wayne coach Al Sims said. “I thought it was fast. It was up and down the ice, right from the opening drop. And it continued that way. … You can’t say enough about the efforts of the guys (who were called up); they accounted for all three of our goals.”
Notes: Komets captain Colin Chaulk (foot infection) missed a 21st straight game. … Cincinnati defenseman Ricky Helmbrecht was cut by the Komets in training camp. … Former Komets player Kelly Miller signed with Elmira. … According to the Intelligencer/News-Register, Keven Veilleux, a second-round draft pick of Pittsburgh in 2007, has been suspended by Wheeling indefinitely after allegedly using a racial slur on the ice.