FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Komets collected four points in three games for week 7 of 2017-18 and improved to 8-6-2 and 18 points after 16 games.
Thursday the Komets began the holiday week with a 5-4 home Thanksgiving victory in front of a crowd of 7,489. The Komets improved to 6-1-2-0 against a Toledo team when playing the traditional holiday home game and 36-17-2-2 overall since the first Fort Wayne Thanksgiving game in 1957 which also was against Toledo (Mercurys). The Komets opened the game with the first two goals before the Walleye responded with a pair to tie the game. Fort Wayne scored at the end of the second period to take a 3-2 lead into the second intermission. The third period erupted at the 3:10 mark with for goals in a span of 1:52. Toledo scored the first pair in 81 seconds. Fort Wayne rallied with a pair in 18 seconds to take the lead and finish the game with a 5-4 victory. Dennis Kravchenko registered his second two-goal game of the season while Shawn Szydlowski, Ryan Lowney and Gabriel Desjardins each posted markers. Fort Wayne goalie Michael Houser earned his fifth win of the year making 23 saves on 27 shots.
Friday the Komets made their first of six trips to Indy and doubled-up the Fuel 4-2 for a four-game unbeaten streak (3-0-1) and three-game win streak. The Komets and Fuel swapped goals in the first period. After a scoreless second frame the Komets grabbed a commanding 4-1 lead in the third before Indy capped the game with a goal with 44 seconds remaining. Mason Baptista scored his first of the season before Desjardins, Ryan Culkin and Cody Sol contributed to the win. Desjardins added two helpers for a three-point evening. Jason Binkley and Jamie Schaafsma also posted two assists each. The Komets directed 51 shots on the Indy net. It was the first time Fort Wayne reached 51 shots since a 52-shot barrage against the Evansville net April 3, 2016 in Fort Wayne. Garrett Bartus notched his third straight win saving 20 of 22 shots.
Saturday the Komets fell 4-1 to the visiting Cincinnati Cyclones. The Clones scored two goals in a stretch of 2:02 in the first period for a 2-0 lead that would hold until Szydlowski solved Cincinnati’s goaltender Anthony Peters with a high blast at 13:11 of the third period on the power play. With Fort Wayne netminder Michael Houser pulled for the extra attacker, the Cyclones scored two empty netters in 14 seconds to seal the win. Houser made 21 saves on 23 shots in his 12th appearance of the season as his unbeaten streak was snapped at three games.
December up next— This week the Komets will open the December portion of 2017-18 hosting Toledo Friday at 8pm. It will be the fourth of eight meetings this season with the Komets holding a 2-1-0 series lead. The Central division leading Walleye lead the fourth-place Komets by 10 points and are idle until they travel to Fort Wayne Friday. After suffering a 5-4 loss to the Komets last Thursday in Fort Wayne, Toledo has won two straight games and are 7-2-0 in their last nine.
The Komets are off Saturday before traveling to Wheeling to face the Nailers Sunday at 3pm. Wheeling is 11-5-2 for 24 points and second place in the North division of the Eastern Conference after 18 games. Sunday’s visit to Wheeling is the first of four and the first of six total meetings this season. The Nailers are 2-3-0 in their last five games and host Reading for a pair Friday and Saturday before completing a three-game weekend home stand Sunday with the Komets.
The Komets will skate 14 games for December, seven at home and seven on the road. The home slate includes two visits each from Toledo and Quad City. Orlando visits for the only meeting of the season Dec. 10. Following Christmas, the month concludes with four games in five nights capped with the 61st traditional New Year’s Eve affair when Toledo visits for a 7:30pm holiday faceoff.
Komet leaders— Shawn Szydlowski leads with 17 points…Szydlowski and Gabriel Desjardins lead with seven goals each….Jason Binkley leads with 12 assists (second among league defensemen) and is fourth among league defensemen with 14 points…..Cold Sol leads the league plus/minus with +15 and leads Fort Wayne with 32 penalty minutes.
Shooting the puck— The Komets outshot their opponents for the week 122-74 and rank seventh in the league with 35.5 shots per game. The Komets have the stingiest defense in the league allowing only 27.25 shots per game. The Komets are 5-0-0 when leading after the first period and 6-0-0 when taking the lead into the third stanza. The special K’s were 2/14 on the power play while allowing only one power play goal on 11 penalty kills to rank fourth in the ECHL with a penalty kill rating of 89.0% (65/73). The Komets scored the first goal in both wins and are 8-2-1 when scoring first.
Szyd streaking— Shawn Szydlowski had points in each game of the week to extend his point-scoring streak to four games (3g, 4a) and reach 297 career points. Szydlowski is riding a three game home goal and point-scoring streak (3g, 3a) and has registered points in each road game played this year for a five-game road point streak (3g, 4a).
More Milestones— Cod Sol scored his second goal of the season in Friday’s 4-2 win at Indy to reach 100 career points. On the cusp is Gabriel Desjardins with 193 career games, Jamie Schaafsma is sitting on 96 ECHL career assists and the Komets have won 985 road games in their 66-year history.
Teddy Bear Toss Friday— Fans are invited to bring new or gently used stuffed animals to Friday’s home game against Toledo. The Komets’ first goal of the game will be the signal for all stuffed animals to be tossed onto the ice where they will be collected and donated to the Disorderly Bear Den, a non-profit charity that collects stuffed animals for those in need.