FORT WAYNE – Luca Caputi entered Wednesdays game against Kalamazoo with two goals since joining the Komets a couple of weeks ago.
He doubled that output in the first period. Caputi finished with two goals and Josh Brittain had a hat trick as the Komets defeated the Wings 7-3 in front of 6,275 fans at Memorial Coliseum.
I had never played them, but I had heard its a passionate rivalry, and it was the same way tonight. We wanted to get on them and set the tone early, Caputi said.
Brittain scored twice in the final minute to finish with three goals. Matt Firman and Jean-Michel Rizk also had goals for Fort Wayne (12-9-1).
I thought our team was in charge all night, Komets coach Al Sims said.
Brett Smith and Ryan Lasch each had three assists as the Komets won for the third time in four games.
It was a big return for Smith, who missed the previous four games with a groin injury.
It was awesome. Its tough missing game watching the guys battle without you out there, Smith said.
It was a long time coming even though its been a couple of weeks. I was excited to get back out there and nothing better than in a win.
Smith and Lasch assisted on both of Caputis goals.
This was Caputis sixth game with the Komets. Assigned to Fort Wayne by Norfolk of the American Hockey League on Nov. 27, he scored his first two goals for the Komets at Orlando in a 3-0 victory Saturday.
I was snake bitten a lot, and I wanted to prove I could be an elite player in this league. Im just trying to do that every day, every practice, every shift, Caputi said.
Caputis first goal Wednesday came when he spun around and went upstairs to score at 4:37 of the first period.
Caputis second goal came at 9:23 to extend the lead to 2-0. Firman made it 3-0 with his fourth goal of the season.
Fort Waynes penalty-kill unit stepped up in the second period. Kalamazoo (10-11-2) went 0 for 4 in power-play chances in the period. Kalamazoo went 0 for 6 on power-play opportunities in the game.
It really kept them down. I thought Charlie (Effinger) was huge, Sims said. Effinger finished with 27 saves.
And you cant say enough about the guys who block shots. I remember (Ryan) Hegarty, (Scott) Kishel, (Daniel) Maggio, Firman, (Stephon) Thorne. They are all sacrificing themselves to make sure shots dont get to Charlie. Especially the 5-on-3, 4-on-3, I thought they did an excellent job of keeping the puck away from the net.
Goals in the second period by Rizk and Brittain stretched Fort Waynes lead to 5-1.
The Wings scored twice early in the third period. But Brittain added goals at 19:15 and 19:25 to put the game away.
Ill take them. They may not have been the prettiest, but they all count, Brittain said. Were just trying to put forth a great effort for the fans, and were going to carry it into this weekend.