Fort Wayne, IN-- In a preview of the opening round of the 2018 ECHL Kelly Cup playoffs the Komets crunched the visiting Cincinnati Cyclones 6-3 Sunday in front of a Fort Wayne crowd of 8,219.
After both teams swapped goals within 22 seconds of each other at 8:09 and 8:31 of the first period, Cincinnati scored again at 15:18 to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. The Komets rallied with three unanswered markers by Shawn Szydlowski, Anthony Petruzzelli and Mason Baptista in the first 3:09 of the third stanza. The Cyclones answered with tally at 7:37 before the Komets capped the game with two more goals by Gabriel Desjardins and Phelix Martineau.
The Komets outshot the Cyclones 44-24 as Fort Wayne goaltender Michael Houser made 21 saves to earned the victory and complete the season at 28-11-4. Cincinnati's rookie netminder Hayden Stewart stopped 38 shots in his fourth appearance of the season. A total of 37 minutes of penalties were handed to the Cyclones after nine infractions while the Komets earned 17 penalty minutes in seven infractions. The Komets improved to 46-20-6 and matched their 98 points of last year's 72-game campaign.
The Komets and Cyclones will open their first round best-of-seven Central division semifinals series Saturday, April 14 on Coliseum Sweetwater Ice at 7:30pm.
It will be a best-of-seven series under a 2-3-2 format. Fort Wayne enters the series with home ice advantage. It will be the third time the Komets and Cyclones have met in an ECHL post-season. Cincinnati defeated the Komets 4 games to 2 in a second round series in 2014 before Fort Wayne eliminated the Cyclones 4 games to 3 in a first round series in 2016.
It's the fifth time Fort Wayne has qualified for the Kelly Cup playoffs in six seasons as a member of the ECHL. It's the 57th playoff appearance in the 66-year history of the Komets.
Here is the complete first-round schedule of the Fort Wayne-Cincinnati series:
2018 ECHL KELLY CUP CENTRAL DIVISION SEMIFINALS
FORT WAYNE KOMETS VS CINCINNATI CYCLONES
Game 1- Saturday, April 14...........Cincinnati at Fort Wayne, 7:30pm ET
Game 2- Sunday, April 15.............Cincinnati at Fort Wayne, 6:00pm ET
Game 3- Thursday, April 19.......... Fort Wayne at Cincinnati, 7:35pm ET
Game 4- Saturday, April 21...........Fort Wayne at Cincinnati, 7:35pm ET
Game 5- Sunday, April 22.............Fort Wayne at Cincinnati, 3:05pm ET*
Game 6- Tuesday, April 24............Cincinnati at Fort Wayne, 7:30pm ET*
Game 7- Wednesday, April 25......Cincinnati at Fort Wayne, 7:30pm ET*
Get your tickets early-- Tickets for the first two Komet home playoff games are on sale at the Coliseum Ticket Office. Season tickets for 2018-19 are also on sale a the Komet office at 1010 Memorial Way in Fort Wayne. For more information visit the Komet office, Komets.com or call 260-483-0011.