The Komets maintained their drive to qualify for post-season play by earning six points last week in four games played.
The Komets completed the week winning three out of four games and improved to 32-31-3 and 67 points after 66 games. The top eight teams in the ECHL’s Eastern Conference qualify for post-season play. The Komets have six games remaining in their bid for a playoff spot and trail eighth-place Toledo by eight points. Toledo also has six games remaining.
How they stand in the Eastern Conference:
* division leaders; y clinched division title; x clinched playoff berth
The week ahead—The Komets will skate three games this week beginning with a home stand against Reading Wednesday at 7:30pm in the only Royals visit of the season. The Komets travel to Elmira for back-to-back games against the Jackals Friday and Saturday at 7:05 each night.
Week in review—Wednesday the Komets began the week doubling up Evansville in Fort Wayne 6-3, snapping a brief two-game winless string.
Friday the Komets stumbled at Kalamazoo 3-2 for their second straight setback against the Wings. It was Fort Wayne’s first loss of the season when taking the lead into the second period (13-1-0). The Komets are 7-6-1 against Kalamazoo after 14 meetings with two remaining.
Saturday the Komets clipped the visiting Greenville Road Warriors 4-3 in a shootout in the only meeting of the season. The Komets improved to 4-2 in games ending in shootouts this year.
Sunday a goal fest broke out on Memorial Coliseum ice in Fort Wayne as the Komets outlasted Evansville 8-5. The Komets take the season series 7-4-0. Fort Wayne’s eight goals are the most in a game this season and match last seasons record of most goals in a game. The Komets also netted a season-high four goals in a period (second period) for the fourth time this season. It was the first time this season Fort Wayne has reached three straight wins on home ice. The Komets also directed a season-high 50 shots on the Evansville net.
The players—Wednesday vs Evansville: Goaltender Charlie Effinger earned Wednesday’s 6-3 win against Evansville stopping 30 of 33 shots. It was his first start since Feb. 17 (eight games) and his 10 th win of the season snapped a personal three-game winless skid. Forward John Dunbar scored his fifth goal of the season in his first appearance after missing 12 games on I.R. Daniel Nycholat (D) notched his first pro goal, the game winner.
Friday at Kalamazoo: Goalie Jeff Deslauriers made his first appearance after returning from two games of backup with the Anaheim Ducks.
Saturday vs Greenville: Deslauriers snapped a personal three-game winless skid earning the win making 39 saves. Kaleigh Schrock (RW) netted his second career hat trick and added his first career shootout goal for the win.
Sunday vs Evansville: Deslauriers posted his second straight win in his third straight start. Nick Wheeler (F/D) completed the week riding a five-game point streak (1g, 7a). Nick Schaus (D) registered his second Komet three-assist, three-point game of the season. J.P. Labardo (C) marked his pro debut with his first career goal.
Leaders of the week—Matt Syroczynski led with seven points (2g, 5a)…..Schrock led with four goals…..Syroczynski and Wheeler each led with five assists.
Komet leaders—Brandon Marino (RW) 70 points (ranks third in ECHL), 50 assists (third in ECHL), 14 power play assists…Thomas Beauregard 22 goals…..Marino +8…..Kaleigh Schrock 159 penalty minutes….Marino 195 shots….Deslauriers, 5-5-0, 2.72 goals-against average, .916 save percentage.
Iron man—Tyler Butler (D) has appeared in all 66 Komet games played this season. Butler also appeared in all 66 games with Arizona last season in the CHL.
Komets honor Steve Wissman’s 2000 th game—The Komets honored assistant equipment manager Steve Wissman for working his 2000 th game in a pregame ceremony Sunday when the Komets hosted Evansville at the Memorial Coliseum. Wissman, a Fort Wayne native, began his career in the lat 1980’s when he was appointed the Komets’ equipment manager and trainer. Wissman’s career also includes six seasons with the St. Louis Blues in the NHL.
KOMETS ON ICE THIS WEEK—
• Wednesday, March 20, Reading Royals (42-18-6, 90 points) at Komets, 7:30pm ET—The Komets will welcome the Reading Royals for the first time ever to the Memorial Coliseum Wednesday. Reading leads the Eastern Conference with 90 points and finished last week with a four-game winning streak. The Royals are 16-11-5 on the road while 26-7-1 when at home. In the only previous meeting of the season the Komets stumbled 6-4 at Reading Dec. 14. Goaltender Riley Gill has started the last nine straight games for the Royals (7-2-0) and forward Yannick Tifu leads Reading with 25 goals, 39 assists and 64 points.
• Friday, March 22, Komets at Elmira Jackals (35-23-7, 77 points), 7:05pm ET
• Saturday, March 23, Komets at Elmira Jackals, 7:05pm ET—The Komets will make the final long-distance road trip of the season this weekend when they skate at Elmira, New York Friday and Saturday. The Komets edged the Jackals 6-5 in the only previous meeting this season in Fort Wayne Dec. 29 and are 19-5-5 all-time against Elmira since the very first meeting between the two teams Dec. 16, 2000 in Fort Wayne when both teams were members of the United Hockey League (UHL). It will be the Komets first appearance at First Arena (3,784) since Jan. 3, 2007 when they shut out the Jackals
1-0 in UHL play. The Jackals reside in seventh place in the ECHL Eastern Conference and are in a congested race for playoff position with Florida, Greenville, South Carolina and Toledo, all within a four-point spread in a five-way battle to quality for post-season action. Elmira will skate at Trenton Wednesday before hosting the Komets Friday and Saturday.