TOLEDO, Ohio – The Fort Wayne Komets started a road stretch in the best possible way Friday night.
The defenseman who almost never scores surprised everyone by turning on the red light, the new guy acquired to add goals dented the net and the forward line stuck in a season-long goalless streak broke it. The Komets beat the Walleye 4-3 in their first game in Toledo since 1986.
They can't celebrate for long, especially with the Komets playing at 3 p.m. today in Kalamazoo, going back in Toledo at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday for a school appreciation game and then hosting Evansville on Friday before heading back to Kalamazoo on Nov. 10.
``I think we feel we need two wins this weekend if we're going to make a move in our division,'' Komets coach Al Sims said. ``We're playing two of the best teams in our division. We played well in Kalamazoo last time, and it's a quick turnaround but hopefully we'll be ready.''
The Komets are 4-2-1, and almost every win has turned their fans into nervous wrecks. Friday's win wasn't pretty, but it was impressive considering the Komets tried only three shots on goal during the third period but scored twice. They also managed to hold on defensively in front of goaltender Charlie Effinger, who was his usual acrobatic self.
The Walleye scored first on a short-handed chance as a forward stole the puck from Komets center Colin Chaulk on the point of the power play. That set up a teammate for a backhand shot by a sprawling Effinger. The Komets got the goal back a minute later when Chaulk and Brandon Marino set up Brett Smith in front at the end of the power play.
The Komets took a 2-1 lead early in the second period when defenseman Brent Henley sneaked into the Toledo zone to deflect a slap shot from partner Dan Maggio past Walleye goaltender Jordan Pearce. The 6-7 defenseman has scored 10 goals during his 11-year career, including a career-high three last season.
``It was a great tip by Hens, and even the type of goal it was you wouldn't expect from a guy that big,'' Sims said. ``Hens has got great hands and he showed it on that goal.''
The lead held up into the third period when the Komets scored on two of their first three shots. Kaleigh Schrock ripped a long slap shot that Pearce got a pad on, but the puck bounced right to J.M. Rizk at the side of the net for an easy score. It was the first goal of the season for the line of Schrock, Rizk and Stephon Thorne.
``Hopefully this gives them a little confidence and gets them unleashed a little bit,'' Sims said.
The Komets pushed the margin to 4-2 when newly acquired Thomas Beauregard intercepted a pass at the red line and skated in on a 2-on-1 to pop a wrist shot past Pearce. Beauregard was signed Monday as a free agent after getting released by San Francisco.
``I just saw a little opening there, and I love when I go in on a 2-on-1 and go farside there and make the goalie work a little,'' Beauregard said. ``It's never a good feeling to get released, but I'm just happy it went well and hopefully there's more to come.''
Icing the puck
The Komets placed defenseman Scott Kishel on the reserve list before Friday's game and activated right wing Beauregard, who signed Monday. Beauregard is wearing No. 82 and playing on a line with Brett Smith and Matt Kennedy. ... Today's Komets' game is going to be broadcast on WFGA, 106.7-FM, because Notre Dame's football game will be broadcast on WOWO. ... Former Komet David Starenky has played only one game for the Walleye and is on Toledo's reserve list.