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Komets' win caps wild day

Scott Fleming’s goal with 4:36 remaining Friday night at Memorial Coliseum gave the Komets a 4-3 victory over the Toledo Walleye, which had fought back from a three-goal deficit at Memorial Coliseum.

Friday was a day rife with drama.

A night after Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock was given the captaincy by coach Gary Graham, word leaked that star forwards Mickey Lang and Mike Vaskivuo had both cleaned out their lockers on the eve of Fort Wayne playing three games in three nights. The team later said it had suspended them.

It’s unknown if the divorce was precipitated by Lang and Vaskivuo, who are roommates, or the Komets themselves. But the Komets, who have made five trades in the last seven weeks, are looking to trade Lang and Vaskivuo now, too.

“From our standpoint these two players were going to be key members of the 2013-14 Komet team, but things have not worked out from the team perspective,” Komets general manager David Franke said in a press release.

Lang, who led the ECHL with 17 goals, wrote in a text message: “Unfortunately, it didn't work out here. I respect the Frankes and coach Graham and appreciate them giving me the opportunity to play for the Komet organization. I wish the Komet team and everyone involved in Komet hockey nothing but success the remainder of the season and the years to follow. I feel very fortunate to have had the chance to play in front of the great Komet hockey fans.”

Vaskivuo, who was the Playoff MVP en route to the Komets’ 2012 CHL title, also had a statement via text message: “I just want to say that it didn't work out. I leave with a heavy heart because of the success that we had together. Fort Wayne has been nothing but great to me. The fans and locals are what make this place remarkable. With that being said, I am looking forward to a new opportunity elsewhere. I wish nothing but the best to the organization.”

The Komets were left with only eight natural forwards – including newly signed Sy Nutkevitch – but thankfully for them, Toledo wasn’t much better off with only nine.

The Schrock-led Komets came out hard, tallying 14 of the first 19 shots and getting the first two goals along the way. During a 5-on-3 power play, defenseman Jordon Southorn netted a 45-foot shot at 7:52. And at 11:57, forward Mike Embach finished off a 2-on-1 rush.

It kept up in the second period, when forward Brandon Marino fought through a crowd to get to the rebound of a Southorn shot and tucked it inside the left goalpost at 6:05 for a 3-0 lead. But Toledo’s Kyle Rogers answered 54 seconds later with a shot from the left circle.

The Walleye got goals from Scott Arnold and David Gilbert at 5:35 and 13:55, respectively, in the third period. Gilbert’s was on a short-handed 2-on-0 breakaway.

Justin A. Cohn, pro sports coordinator for The Journal Gazette, has been covering the Fort Wayne Komets since 1997. His reporting includes game stories from home and away, features about the players and personalities associated with the Komets, plus coverage of issues affecting hockey at all levels. A native of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Cohn graduated from Emory University in Atlanta. He can be reached at 260-461-8429 or by email at jcohn@jg.net.

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