KALAMAZOO, Mich. – It may not be nice to talk about someone behind their back, but it sure can be productive.
At least in a hockey game.
The Komets had been saying all Wednesday night that they needed to get the puck high on Kalamazoo goaltender Joel Martin.
Somehow, Komets forward Eric Giosa was able to remember and process that information in a split second, when a rebound came onto his stick as his body was spinning late in the third period.
Giosa quickly shot the puck high – it barely stayed underneath the right-hand corner of the crossbar – and he got the game-winner in a 2-1 victory over the Wings in front of 1,468 fans at Wings Stadium.
We had talked about getting the puck up on him when he goes down, said Giosa, who has nine goals in 24 games this season. John Dunbar had made a nice play to get to the net and get a shot off. He’d been really doing that the entire game, and it was just a matter of time before I got my stick on it and got it up.
The Komets (24-19-2) have won four of their last six games.
The Wings (19-20-5) were on a 3-0-2 surge before it was spoiled by Giosa and goaltender Kenny Reiter (14-7-1), who stopped 37 of 38 shots for his seventh straight victory on the road.
The game had been tied since Kalamazoo’s Nick Sirota scored off a rebound during a power play with one second left in the first period. He was ejected in the second period for butt-ending defenseman Daniel Maggio, who had just roughed him up.
In the second and third periods, almost all of the Wings’ offense came from the perimeter.
This is a smaller building and the Wings have got some shooters, Giosa said. We definitely wanted to make sure we got in the lanes and blocked some shots. We wanted to keep them to the outside; that was our goal.
The Wings’ final chance to force overtime was foiled when Jean-Michel Rizk blocked a shot, and he sent the puck into an empty net, a split second after time expired.
Forward Thomas Beauregard returned to the Fort Wayne lineup after missing eight straight games with an upper-body injury.
It didn’t take long – only a handful of shifts – for him to impact the game. Skating down the middle of the offensive zone, he intercepted a Wings pass, fired a shot at Martin and then deposited his own rebound into the net for a 1-0 lead 9:21 into the game.
Beauregard has 15 goals and 19 points in 31 games with the Komets. Martin (17-17-5) stopped 32 of 34 shots
It felt awesome to be out there and to contribute, after being out for 3 1/2 weeks like that. I was just so excited coming out today to be able to play a game again, Beauregard said.
Beauregard’s goal was followed by a fight between Fort Wayne’s Tyler Butler and Alexandre Mallet.