KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- I still say they're not hitting nearly enough, but overall the Komets looked very good in a 3-1 victory over the Kalamazoo Wings on Saturday.
They blocked shots, won most of the battles and were relentless at both ends of the ice.
They got an uncharacteristic two goals on power plays. And congratulations to Maxsim Shirokov on his first goal in North America. He was ecstatic, saying how strange it felt not to have scored at all this season. He's begun to adjust to the North American style and is receiving some rave reviews in the locker room.
Speaking of rave reviews, I don't understand all the negativity out there about Brandon Warner. I thought he was awesome in Friday's 3-1 loss at Muskegon, Mich., and today. Heck, he even injured the Wings' backup goalie, which I've never seen happen. Brad Smith was sitting on the bench without a helmet, of course, and Warner was checked into him. Warner's stick smacked Smith upside the head, and the goalie started calling for a towel, presumably for the blood.
Bobby Kukulka and David Hukalo both left the game with injuries but returned, so there shouldn't be any major worries there. And Nick Boucher was great in net for the Komets, who clearly have two top-notch netminders.
Strange to see the Komets get the same referee, Derek Berkebile, two nights in a row. But even though everyone in the building kept complaining about him, I thought he did a pretty solid job both nights. The officiating in this league still stinks, but it's better than last year in the United Hockey League, so far.
By the way, memo to whomever runs Wings Stadium these days: There's this new invention, salt, and it melts ice in parking lots. Just food for thought there. That was a treacherous walk into the building, which had a whole lot of Fort Wayne fans tonight.
-- By Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette