A day after Komets coach Gary Graham called them out for poor defense, Mickey Lang scored a hat trick, Mike Vaskivuo passed three assists and both were on the ice in the final minute, blocking shots and making defensive plays.
After losing a 3-0 lead and the game 5-4 to Wheeling in overtime on Saturday, the Komets held on to win 5-4 at Evansville on Sunday. The IceMen scored just after the final horn went off.
``They worked, they bought in,'' Graham said in a phone interview. ``It was a full commitment of the entire group of guys. A lot of guys stood up in their own individual ways and everybody played a big part in tonight's success. It continues to put that thought into all of our minds that we can be a good team here. We have the pieces here and we have to find ways to keep winnng and find that continuity.''
For the fifth time in the last eight games, the Komets again lost a third-period lead, but this time they rallied back to score twice more. After leading 3-2 coming into the period, the Komets needed goals by Brandon Marino and Lang to take a 5-3 lead with 11:28 remaining.
Then they kept shoving pucks deep into the Evansville zone, holding up the IceMen rush at the Fort Wayne blue line and blocking shots. The IceMen cut the margin to 5-4 with four minutes left, but Komets held off the rally in front of goaltender Andrey Makarov.
``We definitely got the effort,'' Graham said. ``Guys were more detailed and we executed the gameplan.''
After Saturday's game, Graham called out his players, signaling out captain Nick Tuzzolino, Jace Coyle, Lang and Vaskivuo. He said he wanted to see a stronger effort on Sunday as some were playing for their jobs.
Tuzzolino did not make the trip to Evansville as a healthy scratch. His minus-17 rating is the worst in the ECHL, and he was minus-6 in the weekend's first two games.
``It was something I thought about a lot last night,'' Graham said. ``I just wanted him to sit back and have a chance to reflect on what his role is with the team. He's frustrated. What he's here to do to help this team win. I just wanted to be up front with him and that's what it was.''
Graham said the real message behind his rant was to convince his team to play with a sense of urgency.
``There are ways of improving our team, and that falls on me in practice his week as we are getting prepared for Florida and Kalamazoo,'' he said. ``Getting the guys here better starts with me and practice.''
Asked about potential roster moves, Graham said as a coach he's always looking for ways to improve his team.