EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - The rivalry between the Evansville IceMen and Fort Wayne Komets was renewed Friday in the first of six meetings this season between the two Hoosier State teams. The 3,768 Ford Center fans were treated to a back-and-forth high-scoring game, as the Komets ultimately upended the IceMen 7-5.
Former Greenville center Nikita Kashirsky scored his first of two goals on a rebound at 7:05 of the opening period to give the Komets their first of three leads in the game. Evansville's Jordan Sims, a Fort Wayne native, tied the game on a Nathan Moon centering feed to even the score entering the first break.
The Komets tallied three goals in the second period, the first of which was blasted in from Cody Corbett on a delayed Evansville penalty. Again the IceMen tied the game when Alex Guptill tipped in a Vincent Dunn centering pass for his fourth goal in his last three games. Brett Perlini put Fort Wayne ahead for good on the team's only power-play when he beat IceMen starting goalie Cody Reichard through the five-hole at 13:58 of the frame.
54 seconds later, Kashirsky struck again to give the Komets a 4-2 lead heading into the second intermission when he quickly snapped a one-timer into the top corner after Dominic Alberga won a boards battle in the IceMen zone.
The third period was Evansville's craziest of the season as the teams exchanged goals three times. IceMen center Daultan Leveille capped a highlight-reel wraparound with a backhander into the top shelf to make it 4-3. But Fort Wayne answered with its first of two short-handed goals in the stanza when Jamie Schaafsma skated around the last IceMen back, before beating Reichard to pad the Komets' lead.
Reichard left the game with 9:21 to play when he was run into by Garrett Meurs in a scary collision at the net, and Keegan Asmundson finished the game. On the ensuing power-play, Leveille scored his second of the game on a rebound at the goal-mouth to once again cut the lead in half.
However, Fort Wayne provided the knockout punch when two IceMen players collided in the neutral zone which led to a short-handed 2-on-1. Komets forward Garrett Thompson buried a one-timer past Asmundson on Mike Embach's set-up pass. With Asmundson pulled for the extra attacker, Matthew Zay tapped in a loose puck to make it 6-5, but Schaafsma flipped a late backhander into the empty net to finish the six-goal period and preserve the 7-5 win for Fort Wayne.
The next meeting between the two teams is Sunday, December 13 at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, and the Komets return to Evansville again February 9.