Fort Wayne, IN-- The Komets gained four points for week 16 and improved to 24-14-4 and 52 points after 42 games. Fort Wayne moves into second place in the Central division of the Western Conference, trailing first-place Toledo by 12 points with 30 games remaining in 2016-17.
The Komets started the week on the road with a pair of wins at Elmira. Wednesday the Komets clipped the Jackals 1-0 as goaltender Garrett Bartus earned his second shutout of the year on 28 saves. Mason Baptista scored the only goal needed to give Fort Wayne the win and snap a brief two-game winless streak and four-game road winless string.
Friday the Komets turned back the Jackals 3-2 as Bartus earned his second straight win making 24 saves on 26 shots. Bartus also stopped his first penalty shot of the season, awarded to Elmira's Matt Lane at 6:53 of the third period. Gabriel Desjardins, Garrett Thompson and Baptista netted goals for Fort Wayne as Baptista again collected the game winning goal, his third on the year, as the Komets took the season series against Elmira 2-0-0.
The week on the road ended with a 6-1 setback at Reading Saturday night. In Fort Wayne's only meeting this season with the Royals, Bartus logged the loss in his third straight start, stopping 25 of 29 shots. P.J. Musico entered the game in relief at 17:14 of the second period and allowed one goal on six shots. Baptista, skating his 100th pro appearance, scored the lone Fort Wayne goal to push his goal and point-scoring streak to six games (6g, 2a). Baptista also has a four-game road goal and point-scoring streak of four games (4g, 1a).
Komet leaders-- Shawn Szydlowski and Kyle Thomas lead with 21 goals and 49 points each.....Jason Binkley leads Fort Wayne defensemen with four goals, 21 assists and 25 points.....Thomas leads with eight power play markers.....Mike Cazzola and Jamie Schaafsma lead with 30 assists.....Cazzola leads ECHL rookies with 30 assists and ranks second with 46 points.....Schaafsma leads with 12 power play assists....Curtis Leonard leads with +22.....Cody Sol leads with 94 penalty minutes.
Milestones-- Brady Vail skated his 200th career game (regular season and playoffs) Wednesday at Elmira, Garrett Thompson scored his 100th pro point (regular season and playoffs) when he assisted on Mason Baptista's goal Friday at Elmira, and Baptista appeared in his 100th career game Saturday at Reading.
Special K's-- The Komets special teams have not surrendered a power play goal in three straight games, posting a perfect penalty kill of 15/15 over the three games on the road for the week. Fort Wayne's penalty kill rating improved to 83.1% (162/195).
Hello February-- When the Komets started January they were in third place in the Central division with a record of 18-9-3 and 39 points. The Komets were 6-5-1 for the first month of the year and improved to 24-14-4 for 52 points and moved into second place. Mike Cazzola led the Komets during January with 11 assists, 14 points and a +7 appearing in all 12 games. Kyle Thomas led with five goals. Jason Binkley led defensemen with seven assists and nine points. A busy February features 13 games for the short month. Seven home games include three Fridays, two Saturdays, one Wednesday and a Sunday game. Six road trips are planned covering games at Indy, Cincinnati and Kalamazoo.
Back home again-- The Komets return home after five road games in eight days. Friday the Komets host the Rapid City Rush at 8pm. Saturday the Komets finish the week with a 7:35pm faceoff at division rival Indy.
Friday, Feb. 3, Rapid City Rush (14-21-7, 35 points) at Komets, 8pm-- The Komets will face the Rush from Rapid City for the only meeting of the season Friday. Last season the Komets won the season series 3-1-0 after stopping the Rush 3-2 in overtime March 5 at Rapid City in the last meeting. Fort Wayne is 7-4-0 all time against Rapid City. The Rush are in the cellar of the Mountain division and trail their closest rival, sixth-place Missouri, by eight points. Rapid City enters week 17 riding a three-game losing streak and are 2-4-0 in their last six games. The Rush skate at Cincinnati Wednesday before visiting Fort Wayne Friday.
Saturday Feb. 4, Komets at Indy Fuel (14-27-3, 31 points), 7:35pm-- The intrastate rival continues at Indy Saturday when the Komets face the Fuel at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum (6,488). The Komets have won all three meetings played this season, all on Fort Wayne ice. Six meetings remain including one more in Fort Wayne and five at Indy. The Komets overpowered the Fuel 6-2 in the last meeting Jan. 15. Indy holds the seventh and final place in the Central division, trailing sixth-place Wichita by a point and are coming off a pair of home losses against Quad City Saturday and Sunday. Indy is 2-5-0 in their last seven games and will visit Cincinnati Friday before hosting the Komets Saturday.
Friday night Marathon Nights-- Again this year Komet fans can save on their Friday night tickets with Marathon. Fans can earn a buy-one-get-one-free ticket offer with the purchase of three fill-ups at participating Marathon locations. Save on your tickets for this Friday's home game with your Marathon Fill-Up Card.
Komets on the air-- Komet games are scheduled to air this season on WOWO AM 1190 and FM 107.5 with Shane Albahrani calling the play-by-play. All Komet radio broadcasts can also be heard worldwide as presented by Omni Source Radio Recycle at www.komets.com.
Single game and group tickets on sale-- Single game tickets for all Komet home games are on sale at the Coliseum Ticket Office, online at TicketMaster.com, or at the Komet office at 1010 Memorial Way. Also, Group Night packages are available for Family, Business or Civic Group outings. For more information visit Komets.com or call 260-483-0011.