Patience paid off the Komets on Thursday night as they defeated Reading 5-1 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at at Memorial Coliseum.
The Komets lead the best-of-seven series 2-1. Game 3 is Friday at the Coliseum.
The Komets outshot the Royals 45-37.
The Komets came into the playoffs as the eighth seed in the conference but have stunned the top-seeded Royals twice, including the series-opening 2-1 victory at Santander Arena in Pennsylvania.
Fort Wayne got two goals from forward Aaron Clarke and one from center Dean Ouellet, who had missed the 17 previous games because of a concussion.
Reading, which won 4-2 in Game 2 on Saturday in Pennsylvania, had a flurry of chances in the first 7:00, including a breakaway by forward Ryan Cruthers that was stopped by goaltender Ben Meisner.
The Komets opened the scoring at 7:50, when Clarke and Reading goaltender Riley Gill were both sprawled on the ice. Clarke swept the puck into the net.
The Komets tallied 11 of the first 13 shots of the second period, including a goal at 6:15 from Ouellet, who intercepted a pass, drew Gill out and tucked the puck just inside the left goalpost, somehow chipping it in the top of the net. All of it happened seconds after Meisner stopped a Matt Campanale shot from point-blank range at the other end.
But the Royals answered Ouellet’s goal 1:14 later, when forward Sean Wiles netted a slapshot from the right circle.
Clarke struck again – 58 seconds into the third period – accepting defenseman Jordon Southorn’s pass from the left circle, drawing Gill out of the net, switching to his backhand and sliding the puck inside the right goalpost.
The Komets went up 4-1 at 7:40, when a Brandon Marino shot slipped underneath Gill and Chris Auger was able to skate into the crease and sweep it easily in to cement the victory.
For more on this story return to Ice Chips later tonight, go to www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m. or see Friday's Journal Gazette.