The Fort Wayne Komets took the ice at home Friday night against the Wheeling Nailers in what many thought to be the start of a big weekend for the K’s as they had a chance to pull away from the Nailers for the last playoff spot in the Central Division. Friday night did not disappoint.
It did not take long for the gloves to come off as Pelletier and Maggio got things going for the Komets.
Wheeling did follow that up by coming out firing to start the first period picking up two straight goals, both coming from Komet’s defensive breakdowns forcing Fanti to be caught alone in front of the net and unable to make the needed saves. Fort Wayne, however, did fight back with a Garrett Van Wyhe goal, followed by a Drake Rymsha goal to close out the first period tied at two.
Wheeling once again started the period off strong, this time in the second, taking back the lead at 3-2. Oliver Cooper tied things back up for the K’s at three a piece at 9:41.
Things did not stay tied for long; 58 seconds later, Marcus McIvor scored his first Komets goal of the season to give the K’s their first lead. Rymsha then added his second goal of the night to give the Komets a 2 goal advantage and forced Wheeling to take a timeout and pull goaltender Tommy Nappier for what fans thought would be the game, but he did make his way back in for the final seconds of the third period.
The third period is when things got intense, with Tyler Drevitch scoring for the Nailers and making it a 5-4 game at 6:33; just 21 seconds later, Drevitch found himself on the losing end of a 5-minute major for fighting after attempting to take on Matt Boudens from the Komets which had Boudens written all over it.
That was just the start when it came to penalties and fighting. With just 34 seconds left in the one-goal game, Matt Alvaro was able to breakaway toward the empty net and score to seal the victory; however, he was not all too happy with being taken down as he scored, which led to the start of some altercations.
Things started to settle down as the officials tried to break up each fight, but Wheeling’s goalie Brad Barone (who was actually on the bench as Wheeling had pulled their goalie for the extra attacker but then decided to come onto the ice), had a different plan as he skated over towards Komets goalie Ryan Fanti asking if he would like to partake in the festivities, Fanti, of course, did not want to be rude and accepted his invitation and the video speaks for itself.
When it was all said and done, the Komets won an important home game against a Wheeling team trying to catch them for that last playoff spot. Komets scored six times on 40 shots, while the Nailers scored four on 42 shots. Wheeling had 83 penalty minutes, while the Komets had 79. These two teams do play again Saturday night in Wheeling.