FORT WAYNE, Ind. - The Komets captured two out of three games at Orlando for week nine of 2012-13 to gain four points in the North Division and improve to 11-9-1 after 21 games for 23 points, seven shy of division leader Cincinnati.
The three-game stand at Orlando began with a 5-4 shootout win Friday as the Komets made their first appearance at Orlando since they faced the original IHL Solar Bears in 1998. After falling behind 4-2 in the third period the Komets answered with a pair of goals, including a marker with the extra attacker with seven seconds remaining, to force the extra time. A scoreless overtime frame was followed by a shootout shutout by Komet goaltender Kenny Reiter who stopped all five Orlando shooters while skater Thomas Beauregard scored the only shootout tally needed for the Fort Wayne win.
Saturday the Komets stoned the Solar Bears 3-0 on a 35 save performance by netminder Charlie Effinger for his second shutout of the season.
Sunday the Komets had their brief two-game win string snapped as Orlando turned the tables with a 6-2 victory over the visitors from Fort Wayne. The Komets completed the three-game weekend at Orlando leading the season series 2-1-0. The series concludes Sunday, Jan. 6 when the Solar Bears make their only Fort Wayne visit of the year.
Firsts—Defenseman Ryan Hegarty scored his first Komet goal and point, left winger Garret Klotz passed his first point (assist) and skater Ryan Lasch dished his first point (assist) as a Komet Friday during the Komets first meeting of the season against the Solar Bears at Orlando. It was the first time the Komets directed over 40 shots on net in a game this season and the first road shootout win since March 19, 2011 when the Komets clipped the IceMen at Evansville 1-0. Left wing Luca Caputi scored his first goals and points as a Komet Saturday when he scored a pair including the game winner. Right winger Thomas Beauregard dished his first Komet assist, left wing Stephon Thorne registered his first Komet assist of the season and Lasch scored his first Komet goal in Sunday’s 6-2 setback at Orlando.
Milestones—Sunday at Orlando, Lasch posted his 100 th regular season pro point (goal) and right wing Brandon Marino scored his 200 th regular season pro point (goal). Center Colin Chaulk has 997 career points in 899 career games (regular season). Beauregard has skated 198 career games (regular season and playoffs).
Leaders of the week—Lasch scored a goal and added three assists for four points. Beauregard and Marino notched a pair of goals and added an assist for three-points each. J.M. Rizk (RW) tallied a goal and two assists for three points and Josh Brittain (LW) passed three assists for a three-point trip to Orlando.
Leaders of the pack—Marino leads the Komets with 19 assists and ranks fifth in the ECHL with 28 points. Marino also shares the Komet lead of nine goals with Beauregard. Marino and defenseman Brent Henley each lead with +6 while defenseman Daniel Maggio leads with 92 penalty minutes.
GAMES THIS WEEK
• Wednesday vs Kalamazoo Wings (10-10-2, 22 points), 7:30pm— The Komets continue with their busy schedule this week with the first of four stretches of four games in five nights over a period of five weeks and 22 games in 39 days. The Komets host Kalamazoo Wednesday in the first of seven Wednesday night games this season at the Memorial Coliseum. The Komets and Wings continue their battle for position in the North Division as the Komets lead Kalamazoo by a point, with a game in hand, in the chase to catch division leader Cincinnati (14-6-2, 30 points). Wednesday’s match will be the seventh of 16 meetings this season and the third of six visits by the Wings. The Komets are 2-3-1 against Kalamazoo after six meetings. Kalamazoo stopped a four-game winless skid with a 4-3 win against Toledo at Wings Stadium Saturday in their last time out. The Wings are 1-2-2 in their last five games and 3-5-2 in the last 10 and are 2-0-0 in the last two meetings with the Komets.
• Friday at Reading Royals (16-7-1, 33 points), 7:05pm—The Komets make their first ever trip to Reading this Friday when they face the Royals at the Sovereign Center (7,160). The Royals rank third in the ECHL with 33 points and lead the Atlantic Division. Friday’s game is the only meeting this season in Pennsylvania. Reading visits Fort Wayne for one game March 20. The hot Royals are riding a three-game win streak entering the week and are 4-2-0 after an ECHL season-high 11-game win string. Reading is idle until they host the Komets Friday.
• Saturday at Wheeling Nailers (6-8-5, 17 points), 7:05pm—The Komets continue with their journey of unexplored territory when they visit Wheeling for a 7:05pm start Saturday night at the WesBanco Arena (5,344). The Nailers are battling to get out of the Atlantic Division cellar, trailing third-place Trenton by two points. Wheeling has points in their last four straight games (2-0-2) and are 3-1-2