Fort Wayne, IN-- The Komets snagged three points in three games for the second consecutive week and improved to 43-18-5 and 91 points with six games remaining and have clinched home ice advantage for the first round of the ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs. The second-place Komets trail first-place Toledo by eight points in the Central division with two games in hand in the race for playoff position. Fort Wayne's first-round foe continues undetermined as Cincinnati holds third place with 75 points while Kalamazoo and Kansas City are tied for fourth at 70 points each.
The first two rounds of the Kelly Cup Playoffs will be played entirely within the division, with the division winner playing the fourth-place finisher and the second-place team meeting the third-place team in the Division Semifinals. The winners of each series will meet in the Division Finals, leading to the Conference Finals and Kelly Cup Finals.
Week 24 began with the Komets collecting a point in a 3-2 overtime loss to the visiting Kalamazoo Wings Wednesday. After surrendering a pair of goals to the Wings, Justin Hodgman pulled the Komets within one at 14:33 of the second period. Marcus Basara knotted the game at 2-2 with 1:55 remaining in the third to send the game to overtime. Kalamazoo's Brendan Bradley solved Komet goaltender Michael Houser with the game winner at 2:11 on overtime on the power play. Houser finished the game with 33 saves on 36 shots while Michael Garteig earned the win for the Wings allowing two goals on 32 shots.
Friday the Komets fell 3-2 at Indy. The Fuel mounted a 3-0 lead before the Komets' Shawn Szydlowski tallied a pair of goals against Indy goaltender Etienne Marcoux in the third stanza. Houser suffered his 11th loss of the campaign making 38 saves on 41 shots. Marcoux grabbed the win on 38 saves.
Saturday the Komets scored a 5-4 home overtime victory over the Wichita Thunder to sweep the season series 4-0-0 and snap a season-high four-game winless streak. Garrett Thompson notched his second hat trick of the season. Dan Maggio and Gabriel Desjardins also contributed markers. Desjardins scored his fifth game winning goal of the season with 22 seconds remaining in overtime. Fort Wayne netminder Garrett Bartus improved to 2-0-1 in games needing extra time with 30 saves on 34 shots.
Komet leaders-- Shawn Szydlowski leads the ECHL with 76 pints and +40 and leads the Komets with 30 goals, six game winning goals, 46 assists and 215 shots.....Cody Sol leads with 105 penalty minutes.....Curtis Leonard leads ECHL defensemen with +34 and continues as Fort Wayne's iron man appearing in all 66 games to date.
Streaking Komets-- Dan Maggio has points in four straight home games (2g, 2a)....Shawn Szydlowski has a seven-game road point streak (3g, 6a).....Gabriel Desjardins has points in five straight road games (3g, 5a).....Artur Tyanulin has a four-game home point streak (3g, 4a)....Garrett Thompson has a four-game road point streak (2g, 3a).
Milestones-- Garrett Thompson dished his 100th career assist Friday at Indy. Shawn Szydlowski set a new career season high of 76 points with his second assist Saturday.
Goal scoring-- The Komets scored nine goals for the week and continue to lead the ECHL with 271 goals and an average of 4.11 goals per game after 66 games. The Komets have been in six straight one-goal games (2-2-2) and are 10-6-5 in games decided by one goal. Four of the last six games have been decided in overtime (2-2). Overall this season only 10 games have needed extra time. The Komets are 4-4 in games decided in overtime and have only had to participate in two shootouts (1-1). Only Cincinnati and Kalamazoo match the Komets for fewest shootouts in the league this season.
Three games against division rivals for week 25
Kansas City Mavericks (33-29-4, 70 points) at Komets Wednesday, 7:30pm-- The Komets will complete the season series against Kansas City when the Mavericks visit Wednesday. The Komets are 1-3-1 after five meetings. The Mavericks are in the middle of a four-game road trip and split their weekend series at Allen to go 3-2-2 in their last seven outings and 6-2-2 in their last 10.
Komets at Cincinnati Cyclones (36-27-3, 75 points) Friday, 7:35pm-- Friday the Komets make their final trip of the season to the U.S. Bank Arena (6,955) in Cincinnati. The Komets are an even 3-3-1 after seven meetings. The Cyclones will be in Fort Wayne on April 8 to conclude the series and regular season slate. Cincy currently holds third place in the Central division with 75 points and six games remaining and is in position to be Fort Wayne's opponent in the first round. Kalamazoo and Kansas City trail the Cyclones by five points each. Kalamazoo has seven games remaining while the Mavs have six. Cincinnati plays the second of a two-game set at Wheeling Tuesday before returning home to host the Komets on Friday.
Komets at Indy Fuel Saturday, 7:35pm-- Saturday the Komets travel to division and intrastate rival Indy for the final meeting of the season. The Komets lead the series 6-2-0 after dropping a 3-2 affair at Indy last Friday night. The Fuel are 5-1-2 in their last eight games and are coming off a 6-5 overtime loss at Brampton Sunday. Indy continues to fight for the fourth and final spot in the playoffs trailing Kalamazoo and Kansas City by two points with six games remaining. The Fuel are idle until they host Kansas City Friday before welcoming the Komets to Indiana Farmers Coliseum (6,488) Saturday.
Season Ticket Recycling Night Wednesday-- Wednesday night is another Season Ticket Recycling Night when the Komets host the Mavericks. 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 again this Wednesday. Tickets will be sold at 2 for $22 and fans can get $2 beers and $2 sodas all night.
Binge Komets TV-- Access Fort Wayne has announced that it will telecast Komet hockey games from the 2017-18 season for three straight days this week. At 9am Thursday, Friday and Saturday (March 29-31) and throughout each day Access Fort Wayne will feature a marathon recap of Komet games aired earlier this season. The games will be telecast on Fios channel 27 and Comcast channel 57.
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.