Fort Wayne, IN-- The Komets earned three points from a three-game road trip east for week 23 and improved to 42-17-4 and 88 points with nine games remaining in the 2017-18 regular season schedule. In the race for playoff position the Komets hold second place in the Central division, trailing first-place Toledo by nine points with three games in hand. Cincinnati is chasing the Komets for second place and trails Fort Wayne by 16 points. While the Komets have already clinched a playoff berth, any combination of five points, in points won by the Komets or points lost by Cincinnati, is needed to assure the Komets of home ice advantage for the first round.
The three-game road trip east began with a 5-4 overtime win at Reading Wednesday. The Komets rallied to tie the game on three occasions before Reading rallied from a 4-3 deficit to tie the game in the third period and force overtime. Dennis Kravchenko logged his third two-goal game of the season and Curtis Leonard and Artur Tyanulin each snared markers. Zac Larraza scored the game winner at 1:57 of the extra frame giving the Komets their 20th road win of the season. Gabriel Desjardin, Shawn Szydlowski and Garrett Thompson each dished a pair of assists. Goaltender Cam Lanigan earned his first pro win making 38 saves on 42 shots in his first Fort Wayne start.
Friday the Komets grabbed a point in a 3-2 overtime loss at Adirondack and finish the season series at 0-1-1. Bobby Shea and Russell Jordan each scored power play goals for Fort Wayne during regulation. It was Jordan's first pro goal in his third pro game since signing with the Komets last week. Netminder Lanigan backstopped the Komets to a point making 47 saves on 50 shots. It was the most shots allowed by the Komets in a game since they gave up 50 on March 29, 2013 in a 3-2 loss at Kalamazoo.
Saturday the Komets were clipped 3-2 at Worcester in the only meeting of the season with the Railers. Szydlowski gave the Komets a 1-0 lead at 7:44 of the first period before Worcester pulled even at 1-1 at 17:41. After the Railers took the lead at 1:40 of the second period the Komets responded with Marcus Basara's first goal as a Komet at 14:10 to send the game into the second intermission tied at 2-2. Worcester opened the third period with the only goal of the stanza at :30 to give the Railers their 17th home win of the season.
Komet leaders-- Shawn Szydlowski leads the ECHL with 72 points and +40 and ranks fourth with 44 assists...Gabriel Desjardins ranks third in the league with +33....Szydlowski and Desjardins lead Fort Wayne with 28 goals....Cody Sol leads with 105 penalty minutes....Ryan Culkin leads Komet defensemen with 11 goals, 27 assists and 38 points....Curtis Leonard leads ECHL defensemen with +34.
Streaking Komets-- Shawn Szydlowski has a three-game point-scoring streak (1g, 3a) and six-game road point streak (1g, 6a)....Gabriel Desjardins has a four-game road point streak (4g, 4a).....Garrett Thompson has points in three straight games (1g, 3a) and a three-game home point streak (1g, 3a)....Artur Tyanulin has a four-game home point streak (3g, 2a).
Special K's-- The Komets were 2/9 for the week on the power play and 10/12 on the penalty kill and enter week 24 ranking eighth overall on the power play with a success rate of 18.4% (38/207) and have the ECHL's seventh-best penalty kill with a PK rate of 84.7% (316/255).
Milestones-- Curtis Leonard eclipsed his old season high of 17 points with a goal in Wednesday's 5-4 win at Reading and added an assist at Worcester Saturday for a new career season high of 19 points. Leonard continues as Fort Wayne's lone ironman appearing in all 63 games to date.
Goals, goals, goals are made to love-- The Komets continue to lead the league with 262 goals after 63 games and have scored 107 goals in the third period while allowing only 62 for a third period differential 45. In the second period the Komets are 86-53 for a differential of 33. Fort Wayne leads the league with a per-game average of 4.16 goals and leads with an average of 37.11 shots per game.
Reaching 20 on the road-- The Komets logged their 20th road win in the 61st game of the season Wednesday, March 14 with a 5-4 overtime victory at Reading. The last time the Komets reached 20 road wins was on March 18, 2015 on the 60th game of the year and went on to finish the season with 22 wins on the road. Four road games remain and the Fort Wayne record for road wins is 25. The Komets collected 25 wins in 2003-04 and again in 2008-09.
K's in OT-- The Komets needed extra time to decide two games last week, a 5-4 overtime win at Reading Wednesday, and a 3-2 overtime loss at Adirondack Friday. Overall the Komets have needed extra time to decide a game on eight occasions this year. The Komets are 3-3 in the six games that have been decided in overtime and 1-1 in two games that have ended in shootouts. Besides the Komets, Cincinnati, Kansas City and Wheeling also have needed only two shootouts to decide games this season.
The week ahead
Kalamazoo Wings at Komets Wednesday, 7:30pm-- The Komets will return home to host the division rival Kalamazoo Wings (30-26-6, 66 points) Wednesday at 7:30pm. It's the last meeting of the season with the Komets 1-4-0 in the series. The Wings enter the week tied with Kansas City for the fourth and final first-round playoff berth with 10 games remaining. Kalamazoo is coming off a 4-1 home win over Cincinnati on St. Patrick's Day and is 2-3-1 in its last six games.
Komets at Indy Fuel Friday, 7:35pm-- Friday the Komets travel to Indy to face the Fuel (30-29-4, 64 points) at 7:35pm. The Komets lead the season series 6-1-0 with two meetings remaining. The Komets doubled-up the Fuel in the last meeting 4-2 in Fort Wayne on Valentine's Day. Indy trails fourth-place Cincinnati and Kansas City by two points in the race for a playoff spot. The Fuel will host six of their last nine games starting Friday. Indy is 3-1-1 in their last five games. The Fuel will skate at Cincinnati Tuesday before hosting the Komets Friday.
Wichita Thunder at Komets Saturday, 7:30pm-- Saturday the Komets complete their week of three games in four nights with a 7:30pm faceoff against the Wichita Thunder (33-24-7, 73 points) on Sweetwater Ice at the Memorial Coliseum. The Komets are a perfect 3-0-0 after three meetings and will complete the season series against the Thunder Saturday. Wichita has three games slated this week and is in a tight race for playoff position with Allen, Tulsa and Utah. The Thunder is in the middle of an eight-game road tour and skates at Kansas City Tuesday and Kalamazoo Thursday before arriving in Fort Wayne Saturday.
Season Ticket Recycling Night Wednesday-- Wednesday night is another Season Ticket Recycling Night when the Komets host the Wings. Komet Season Ticket Holders will be able to exchange any unused Komet tickets from previously scheduled home games this year for tickets to the game Wednesday.
Deuces Wild Wednesday-- It's also Deuces Wild this Wednesday. Tickets will be sold at 2 for $22 and fans can get $2 beers and $2 sodas all night.
Be our guest for Princess Night Saturday-- All little princesses in attendance Saturday night when the Komets host Wichita will have a chance to meet their favorite princesses before the game and have pictures taken. Doors open at 6:30pm and princess wands will be handed out to the first 1,000 at the game compliments of T.A.G. Art Company. There will also be an on-ice Princess Parade during the first intermission.
Get your tickets early-- Tickets for all remaining regular season games and tickets for the first two Komet home playoff games are on sale at the Coliseum Ticket Office. Save on Group tickets and Flex tickets on sale at the Komet office at 1010 Memorial Way in Fort Wayne. For more information visit the Komet office, Komets.com or call 260-483-0011.
Komet Hockey on WOWO-- Komet games are scheduled to air on WOWO AM 1190 and FM 107.5. All radio broadcasts also stream live at Komets.com presented by OmniSource Radio Recycle. Fans are invited to follow the action as Shane Albahrani handles the play-by-play.