Defenseman William Lacasse had the only goal of the overtime shootout – it came in the fifth and final round – and the Komets defeated the Kalamazoo Wings 4-3 to take over sole possession of eighth place in the Eastern Conference tonight.
The Wings opened the scoring 7:34 into the first period, seconds after a Kalamazoo power play had expired, with defenseman Joe Sova’s shot from just inside the blue line eluding goalie Matt Grogan, who made just his second professional start and made 34 stops.
Komets center Scott Fleming answered at 14:44 by redirecting defenseman Simon Danis-Pepin’s shot from the blue past goalie Jordan Binnington, while the teams were skating 4-on-4.
Binnington made 34 saves.
The Wings went up 2-1 with a power-play goal from right wing Chris Lawrence at 18:13, but one minute later forward Kenton Miller tied it with a shot from the right circle.
The goalies put on a show in the scoreless second period, when Grogan stopped 14 shots and Binnington turned away 7 – and Binnington had the best one when he slid to his right to stop Mike Embach at the end of a 2-on-1 rush. That’s no easy feat, considering Embach came into the night with six goals in the last four games.
Grogan had stopped 23 of 24 shots in a 2-1 victory over Gwinnett on Friday at the Coliseum, but he left the game early in the third period because of muscle cramps.
On Saturday, former Komets forward Matt Firman made it 3-2 at 9:59 of the third period with a wrist shot from the right circle, after Grogan had stopped his wraparound attempt, souring the mood of the 8,279 fans at the Coliseum.
But they came back alive at 13:56, when forward Chris Auger’s pass from behind the net set up defenseman Jordon Southorn for a 15-foot goal and a 3-3 tie.
Notes: The Komets waived defenseman Matt Bruneteau, who was scoreless in his first four professional games. … Goalie Ben Meisner, who collapsed on the ice in Wednesday’s 5-4 loss to Orlando because of an accelerated heartbeat and dizziness, and has since been cleared to play by a cardiologist and a neurologist, was scratched Saturday in favor of rookies Grogan and Kevin Murdock. … The Komets also played without Sy Nutkevitch, Matthew Maoine, Dean Ouellet and Jason Dale.
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