FORT WAYNE, IN — In front of a hometown crowd of 5929, the Fort Wayne Komets offense proved that they are a force to be reckoned with in a trouncing of the Wichita Thunder Wednesday night.
Early in the first period, Mason Baptista scored his 14th of the season on Wichita Thunder goalie Shane Starrett. The Komets would get their first power play early in the first when Jeremy Beaudry took a hooking penalty and was sent off to the penalty box. The Thunder would would tie it a short time later when Chad Butcher scored his sixth goal of the season assisted by Kevin Dufour and Marc-Olivier Crevier Morin. Former Komet Ralph Cuddemi would find the back of the net at 10:58 when he fired a shot that beat goalie Garrett Bartus over the right shoulder to give the Thunder a 2-1 lead. The remainder of the first saw much of the action carried by the Komets, who recorded 19 shots on Starrett in the first period alone.
The Komet offense continued pressing early in the second period and the dam would break when off a draw, Cody Sol and Justin Hodgman would send the puck to Marc-Olivier Roy who would tie the game at two. During a four-minute power play, the Komets take the lead for good when Trevor Cheek wristed a shot by Starrett to give the Komets a 3-2 lead. With a cross pass from Louick Marcotte and Dennis Kravchenko, Justin MacDonald scored his second of the season and put the Komets up 4-2 heading into the third. Much like the first, the shooting gallery continued on Starrett, and by the end of two periods, the Komets had 35 shots on net.
Just thirty-one seconds into the third period, Sol scored his seventh of the season on a pass from Jason Binkley and Roy. Gabriel Desjardins tried to make it back-to-back games with a hat trick at 7:09. A short time later, Marcotte scored his first of the game with the helpers going to Ryan Lowney and Garrett Thompson. After the Marcotte goal, Starrett would be pulled in favor of newly-assigned netminder Nick Riopel. Despite the change in netminders, the onslaught continued. Desjardins found the back of the net once again at 10:12 of the period, and 2:31 later, ECHL league scoring leader Shawn Szydlowski scored his 23rd of the season making the score 9-2. Cuddemi would add his second of the night, but it was all academic, the Komets defeated Wichita 9-3. Bartus made 34 saves in the Komets fourth straight win.
The Komets and Wichita renew acquaintances Friday night at the Memorial Coliseum. Puck drop is at 8 pm.