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Miller sparks K's to NYE victory

The Komets defeated the Toledo Walleye 5-3 on New Year's Eve. Kenton Miller had the winning goal.

K's catch a win

Miller's goal the winner against Toledo

Kenton Miller's first goal with the Komets came at an awfully good time.

"You could say I was a little overdue, yeah," Miller said tonight, after his 20-foot shot at 7:31 of the third period was the game winner, as the Komets defeated the Toledo Walleye 5-3 at Memorial Coliseum.

Mike Embach added an empty-netter for the Komets, as a crowd of 9,088 looked on.

"I was frustrated before but I wasn't anymore," said Miller, who has played 25 games with Fort Wayne. "I was so over it and just thinking, it's going to eventually go in."

The Komets came out like gangbusters; the game opened with a fight between Fort Wayne captain Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock and his former linemate, Stephon Thorne, who helped Fort Wayne to the 2012 CHL title.

Then Chris Auger opened the scoring for Fort Wayne at 1:19, putting in the rebound of a Brandon Marino shot.

The Walleye got back-to-back goals in the span of 26 seconds – Trevor Parkes scored on a 2-on-1 rush and David Gilbert buried a crossing pass – for a 2-1 lead.

The Komets responded 2:00 later, though, when Marino's pass from behind the net found the stick of Scott Fleming and the puck was snapped in to the net at 15:21 of the first period.

Kevin Lynch regained the lead for Toledo by scoring just off a faceoff 3:25 into the second period, but Marino tied it at 3 just 57 seconds later when goaltender Hannu Toivonen was sprawled on the ice and unable to stop the puck flicked top-shelf.

"We kept responding. We kept going down and we kept responding and stayed positive," Fort Wayne coach Gary Graham said.

"I couldn't think of a better guy to get that goal than Kenton Miller. He's had that monkey on his back and this kid works hard, hard all the time. He's in unbelievable shape and is on the ice before and after practice. I kept telling him, 'It's going to come. Keep doing your thing.' He's been getting better each and every game."

Andrey Makarov stopped 25 shots for Fort Wayne (12-11-5). Toivonen stopped 34 shots for the Walleye (9-16-3).

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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