After Saturday morning's pre-game skate, new Komets defenseman Jordan Southorn walked into coach Gary Graham's office.
``Last night will be the worst game you see me play all year,'' Southorn said of Friday's 4-0 loss at Kalamazoo.
Talk about a rebound. Southorn scored his first two goals as a Komet as Fort Wayne beat Florida 4-2 before 6,997 Memorial Coliseum fans. Fellow defenseman Joe Hartman and forward Brandon Marino also scored, and goaltender Cody Reichard made 39 saves.
This was a tremendous hockey game full of high intensity and speed on offense, but all Graham wanted to talk about was his team's defense.
``Tonight was about sacrifice, desperation,'' Graham said. ``How many blocked shots did you see tonight?''
Florida got 41 shots on Reichard, including 20 during the third period, but Reichard was always the calm within the chaos as he won his first game as a Komet. He got plenty of help from his teammates who scrambled to get back and help out, something they didn't do Friday.
``Obviously, sometimes we're looking for that spark that gets us going consistently, and tonight I thought we really defended well,'' Graham said. ``I thought we took care of the slot and the paint. That's a high-scoring team and they do a great job of buzzing the net and creating chaos. You have to win the battle of the paint because they are going to get pucks to the net and bodies in the paint.''
It helped that the Komets seem to have finally found a No. 1 defensive pairing in Southorn and Simon Danis-Pepin. Their size and physical play makes it difficult for anyone to get near Reichard.
``That's a team that likes to move pucks behind the net all the time,'' Graham said. ``As a defenseman, you are trying to take that away from them and be physical to disrupt that right away, and our D did a good job of that tonight.''
The Komets are 3-3-3 at home and 7-7-3 overall as they head on the road for their next four games.