The Komets are headed East for three games in four nights for week 16 of 2016-17 as their five-game road tour continues while the Shrine Circus claims the Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne through this weekend.
The Komets earned two points last week with a 4-2 home win against Cincinnati Friday before suffering setbacks of 6-3 at Kalamazoo Saturday and 4-3 at Brampton Sunday. Entering the week the Komets are 22-13-4 for 48 points after 39 games and hold third place in the Central division of the Western Conference, trailing second-place Tulsa by a pair of points with six games in hand.
The week ahead— The Komets will visit Elmira for a pair of games at First Arena (3,784) in downtown Elmira, N.Y. The Komets and Jackals will skate their only two meetings of the season on Wednesday and Friday, both games starting at 7:05pm. The last meeting was on April 3, 2015 when the Komets beat Elmira 4-1 in Fort Wayne to take the 2014-15 season series 2-1-0 and improve to 23-10-7 all time against the Jackals. The last time the Komets were at First Arena was a 7-3 victory on March 25, 2015. Elmira (9-24-5, 23 points) is struggling to escape the cellar of the North division of the Eastern Conference. The Jackals are coming off an extended visit to Manchester where they were 1-2-0 after three straight outings Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Elmira is 2-3-0 in their last five games but 2-8-0 in their last 10.
The Komets will cap the week and the month of January with a 7pm faceoff at Santander Arena (7,160) in Reading, Pennsylvania against the 2013 ECHL Kelly Cup champion Royals. The Komets and Royals did not meet last season. The last meetings were when the Komets took both games of a two-game set at Reading Nov. 7 and 8, 2014. Reading trails North division leader Manchester by 10 points after collecting four points last week. However the Royals finished the week with a 2-1 home loss against Wheeling Saturday and are 4-2-0 in their last six games and 8-3-0 in the last 11. Reading will skate a pair of games at Adirondack Tuesday and Friday before hosting the Komets Saturday.
Komet leaders— Shawn Szydlowski leads with 49 points and still ranks third in the ECHL after two weeks (1/11/17) on call-up to the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters….Szydlowski and Kyle Thomas lead with 21 goals each….Mike Cazzola leads ECHL rookies with 30 assists and 46 points…..Curtis Leonard leads the Komets and ranks second in the league with +23….Thomas has a league-high eight power play goals…..the Komets rank second in the ECHL with 15 home wins and have the league’s second-best road power play rating of 22.9% (16/70) while ranking fourth overall at 22.1% (33/149).
Komet streaks— Mason Baptista has a 3-game point-scoring streak (3g, 2a)…..Jason Binkley has a 5-game point-scoring streak (2g, 5a) and a 6-game road point streak (1g, 5a)…..Mike Cazzola set a team season-high 5-game assist scoring streak (6a) Saturday with a helper at Kalamazoo.
Career year— Goaltender Garrett Bartus, appearing in his fourth pro year, earned an ECHL career year best 10th win Friday. Fourth-year pro Kyle Thomas scored a goal in Saturday’s 6-3 loss at Kalamazoo to tie Shawn Szydlowski with a team high 21 goals on the season and set career season highs of 21 goals, 27 assists and 48 points.
Icing the puck— The Komets are the only team in the league to have not taken a game into a shootout this season…..the Komets are 13-6-0 when taking the lead into the second period and 18-1-0 when leading after two periods….8,855 fans, the second highest attended game in Fort Wayne this year, witnessed a 4-2 win over Cincinnati Friday for Superhero Night to give the Komets a league-high home attendance average of 7,503 on the year after 20 home games.
Next home game— The Komets return home Friday, Feb. 3 to host the Rapid City Rush at 8pm. It’s the first of 13 games for the month of February and the first of three straight Friday home games. The Komets will skate a total of seven home games and six on the road for the month.