EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE)
Brandon Wong scored three goals as the Evansville IceMen swarmed the Fort Wayne Komets to a 6-4 win. Matt Lowry also potted a pair to help the IceMen (9-13-2-2, 22 points) earn their first win in December in front of 5,762 fans at the Ford Center. Evansville now sits just two points out of third place in the North Division.
The Komets (21-4-1-0, 43 points) peppered Chris Driedger with several shots early, but the IceMen netminder stood tall. He turned away six shots before the IceMen had one shot on goal.
Evansville would strike first. Randy Cure broke his stick on a shot. The puck trickled to Matt Lowry in front of the net. The Assistant Captain wrapped the puck around Garrett Bartus on a no-look backhanded shot to put Evansville up 1-0.
After a tripping penalty put the IceMen on the power play, Evansville added to its lead. Wong sent a cross-ice feed to Kale Kerbashain. Kerby slapped a shot into the back of the net to put the IceMen up by two. Myles Bell picked a point on Kerbashian's ninth of the season.
Kevin Harvey dropped the gloves late in the first period, in a battle with former IceMen brawler, Matt Krug. Harvey sent Krug to the ice with barrage of right hands to win the fight. The Sheffield, ON native also had two assists in the game.
In the second period the Komets got on the board. Thomas Frazee scored to cut the IceMen lead to one.
Just over a minute later, the IceMen answered. Harvey found Lowry charging into the high slot. Lowy smacked in his second of the season. Cure picked up his first career multi-point game with an assist on Lowry's fourth of the season as the IceMen took a 3-1 lead.
Fort Wayne trimmed the lead to one midway through the second period. James Martin put in a slap shot from the blue line after Frazee won a faceoff. Martin's sixth of the season made it a 3-2 game.
The IceMen pushed the lead back to two once again just 63 seconds after the Komets scored. Troy Rutkowski fired a shot that Bartus stopped. However, Wong found the rebound and deposited it into the back of the net. Peter Sakaris added an assist as the IceMen took a 4-2 lead and chased Bartus from the game.
As a Fort Wayne power play expired. Guillaume Lepine fired an outlet pass that sprung Danny Hobbs on a breakaway. Hobbs carried the puck wide then aired a pass to Wong who knocked it out of the air and into the net to make it a 5-2 lead.
Frazee scored a power play with under minute to go in the second period to make it a 5-3 IceMen lead going into the third period.
In the final frame, Cure lofted the puck out of the defensive zone to Colin Murray. Cure's pass gave the IceMen a 2-on-0 breakaway. Murray dished the puck to Wong who slammed it in to complete the hat trick. Wong grabbed the team lead in points with his fourth of the night as he put the IceMen up 6-3.
The Komets would tack on one more as Matthew Pistilli deflected a shot past Chris Driedger. But they could not get any closer as the IceMen claimed a 6-4 victory.
Cure assisted on three goals to set a new career high in helpers. Driedger picked up his sixth win of the season. The victory snaps an eight-game losing streak for Evansville.
The IceMen and Komets will meet again on Saturday night in Fort Wayne as they complete the second half of this home-and-home weekend series with play beginning at 6:30 central time. Catch all the action live at Bar Louie, the official watch party destination of the Evansville IceMen. The Icicles will be there and fans will have a chance to win some IceMen prizes.
After its trip to Fort Wayne, Evansville will pay Cincinnati a visit on Monday night before returning home on New Years Eve to host he Quad City Mallards. Stop by the Ford Center and usher in 2015 with a post-game fireworks show.