``We still found a way,'' an emotional Komets coach Al Sims said in a phone interview. ``It's all about finding a way to win.''
This could have been a brutal defeat. The Komets led 2-0 early in the second period on goals by Thomas Beauregard and Brandon Marino before Orlando cranked up its offense with 21 shots on Fort Wayne goaltender Kenny Reiter. He pushed aside 19 to keep the score 2-2 heading into the third period.
Orlando then took the lead and pushed the margin to 4-2 with 10 minutes left.
``We got all over them in their zone and started using our point men for shots,'' Sims said. ``Being down two, it's tough, but we kept playing.''
Defenseman Ryan Hegarty scored his first goal of the season through a maze of legs with 9:53 left to give the Komets a chance, and Reiter kept stopping Orlando's chances for insurance goals.
After Reiter was sent to the bench for the extra attacker, Colin Chaulk won three faceoffs in the final moments, the last one setting up a tying goal from Beauregard off assists from Marino and Ryan Lasch to force the overtime.
The Komets appeared to have won the game when Beauregard scored halfway through the overtime, but referee Joe Sullivan ruled Beauregard had knocked the puck into the Orlando goal with a high stick. Then Sullivan called an interference penalty on the Komets' Brent Henley. Sims credited J.M. Rizk, Daniel Maggio and Tyler Butler with killing off most of the Orlando power play.
After finishing with 40 saves in regulation and the overtime, Reiter continued to play strong in the shootout, stopping all five Orlando snipers. Beauregard had the Komets' third attempt and scored to give the Komets the victory.
``It's an emotional win,'' Sims said. ``It's one of those wins it gives your team a lot of confidence and builds character in them. It builds another brick in the wall of character in them. We know one or two goals isn't going to beat us when we're down.''
Besides Beauregard's two goals, Josh Brittain had three assists and Marino had an assist and a goal.
This was a physical win, as well, as both teams played the body and finished their checks all night. The series continues with games at 7 tonight and 3 p.m. Sunday.
``They are a physical team and they finish their checks,'' Sims said. ``We had to do the same to them, and it led to a lot of battles in front of and behind the nets. Both teams were trying to establish something and make the other team pay the price.''
Friday was the first of three straight games in Orlando for the Komets, who begin a string of seven games in 10 nights and 25 games in 44 nights through the ECHL All-Star break. They have consecutive nights off only four times until Jan. 19.
OnlineFor more on the Komets, follow Blake Sebring on Twitter at www.twitter.com/blakesebring and at his blog, www.tailingthekomets.com.
Komets at Orlando
Faceoff: 7 p.m.
Radio: WOWO, 1190-AM