Wichita, KS (Feb. 27th) - Ryan Culkin scored with 1:15 to go in regulation and helped Fort Wayne escape past Wichita on Tuesday night by the final of 5-3 at INTRUST Bank Arena.
Ralph Cuddemi finished with three points, Chad Butcher recorded his eighth of the season and Jeremy Beaudry found the net for the second game in a row.
Butcher got the scoring started at 8:28 of the first period. After making a cross-ice pass, he found a rebound near the net and fired home a power play goal to make it 1-0. The Komets answered quickly as Trevor Cheek scored his first of two at 10:55.
Early in the second, Justin Hodgman gave the Komets a 2-1 advantage. He went coast-to-coast and beat Nick Riopel with a wrist shot from the left circle during a two-on-one for his fifth of the season. Ryan Van Stralen potted his first professional goal in his first game with the Thunder at 5:36 to tie it at two. At 19:04, Cuddemi found Beaudry across the Fort Wayne zone with a great pass and he buried it to give the Thunder a 3-2 lead.
Fort Wayne tied it early in the third when Cheek put home a loose puck near the right post during a net-mouth scramble. Cheek finished with four points (2g, 2a).
With three minutes to go, Riopel was lifted as he appeared to be shaken up on the game-tying goal. Shane Starrett was forced into action to close the game out.
Culkin recorded the go-ahead tally as he caught a pass down the slot and beat Starrett to make it 4-3. Starrett was lifted and Wichita nearly tied the game as Beaudry hammered a one-timer just wide of the right post. Shawn Szydlowski made it 5-3 with an empty-netter and the Komets held on for the win.
Cuddemi has points in his last five games (4g, 6a). Beaudry has points in three-straight. (2g, 1a). Butcher has six points (1g, 5a) in his last five games.
Wichita went 1-for-4 on the power play. Fort Wayne was 0-for-3 on the man advantage.
The Thunder remains at home this weekend with two meetings against Idaho starting Friday night at 7:05 p.m.
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