Fort Wayne, IN-- The Komets gained four points in week 24 to improve to 37-21-8 and 82 points and continue to hold first place in the Midwest Division of the Western Conference with two weeks and six games remaining in the 2015-16 ECHL campaign. The Komets hold a five-point lead over second-place Cincinnati heading into week 25 and have a chance to pad that lead Tuesday night when they skate at Cincinnati.
About last week-- Wednesday the Komets clipped the visiting Wheeling Nailers 1-0 in overtime in the only meeting of the season. Shawn Szydlowski scored the Komets' game winner at 1:35 of the extra session and goaltender Pat Nagle snagged a league-leading fifth shutout of the season. It was Fort Wayne's 27th one-goal game (13-6-8) and the Komets are an even 6-6 after deciding 12 games in overtime.
Friday the Toledo Walleye made their last trip of the year to Fort Wayne and doubled-up the Komets 6-3. Newcomer Taylor Crunk notched his first career goal while Jamie Schaafsma and Szydlowski also scored for the Komets. Nagle suffered the loss in his sixth straight appearance making 27 saves on 32 shots. The Komets finished their season series with the Walleye at an even 4-4-1 in nine meetings.
Saturday the Komets upended the Evansville IceMen 3-1. The Komets improved to 3-1-1 against the IceMen on the season with one meeting remaining. Netminder Alex Vazzano collected the win in his first Fort Wayne start allowing one goal on 13 shots. Forward Garrett Meurs was the star of the game scoring a pair of goals for the third time this season. David Friedmann also hit the net with his first pro goal.
Komet leaders-- Szydlowski leads with 48 assists, 69 points and 193 shots.....Mike Embach leads with 23 goals.....Jordon Southorn leads with +20.....Cody Sol leads with 240 penalty minutes.
Milestones-- Forwards Crunk and Friedman each skated their first pro games Wednesday against Wheeling. Crunk scored his first pro goal Friday and Friedman scored his first pro goal Saturday as each player appeared in all three Komet games of the week.....Nagle made his 200th career appearance Friday....Szydlowski skated his 300th career game Saturday.
Corbett, Geertsen reassigned-- Defensemen Cody Corbett and Mason Geertsen have been reassigned to San Antonio of the American Hockey League. Corbett has five goals and 18 points in 30 games with the Komets while Geertsen has scored a goal and four points in 21 games.
Path to the playoffs-- Right now three points with Tulsa is the shortest margin of difference needed for the Komets to clinch a playoff spot. A combination of points won by Fort Wayne and lost by Tulsa equaling three and the Komets clinch. Tulsa has games Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday this week. The first-place finisher in each division will be seeded 1, 2 and 3 and the next five highest point totals in each conference will qualify for the 2016 Kelly Cup Playoffs. All series will be a best-of-seven format. If the playoffs would be held today, the Komets would face Colorado in the first round and have home-ice advantage. But a tight Western Conference from second-place to ninth-place will make for an interesting finish.
THE WEEK AHEADTuesday, Komets at Cincinnati Cyclones (34-23-9, 77 points)-- The battle for first place in the Midwest division of the Western Conference takes to the ice Tuesday night at the U.S. Bank Arena (6,955) in Cincinnati at 7:35pm. Five points separates the first place Komets from the second place Cyclones. Each team has six games remaining in the season. The Komets are 4-5-0 against Cincy after nine meetings heading into the final meeting of the season Tuesday. The Cyclones are coming off a 4-1 victory Saturday at Toledo and are 2-2-3 in their last seven games.
Saturday, Indy Fuel (31-33-3, 65 points) at Komets, 7:30pm-- The Komets have three games against Indy out of their final six games of the season with the next meeting Saturday in Fort Wayne at 7:30pm. The Komets are 5-2-1 against the Fuel after eight meetings and 3-0-1 after four on Coliseum ice. Indy is currently out of playoff contention trailing Quad City, who holds the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference, by seven points with five games remaining. Saturday night will be Indy's first visit to Fort Wayne since the Komets burned the Fuel 7-0 on New Year's Eve. Indy is 4-6-1 in its last 11 games but takes a three-game win streak into its next game Thursday at Cincinnati, their only contest before traveling to Fort Wayne Saturday.
Sunday, Evansville IceMen (26-31-9, 61 points) at Komets, 5pm-- The IceMen make their final return of the season Sunday at 5pm. It's also the final meeting of the year as the Komets hold a 3-1-1 series lead after five games and a 3-1 win over Evansville last Saturday night in Fort Wayne. Evansville has not yet been mathematically eliminated from post season play however eighth-place Quad City needs only a point in their next seven games to oust the IceMen from contention. Evansville will host Cincinnati Friday and Tulsa Saturday before traveling to Fort Wayne Sunday.
Kids Seat Free Saturday-- The Komets will feature another Kids Seat Free Night when Indy visits Saturday, courtesy Aunt Millie's, Parkview Health and the Komets. Any child under the age of 12 can see the game for free with a full-priced adult ticket purchase.
4 for 55 Sunday-- This Sunday fans can take advantage of the Komets' "4-for-55" special Family 4-Pack Ticket Offer when the Komets host Evansville, courtesy MidWest America Federal Credit Union. Get four upper arena tickets, four hot dogs, four soft drinks and four chips for only $55!Wendy's Family Night Sunday-- The Komets present Wendy's Family Night at every Sunday home game this season. Coupons for a Sundays 4-for-$32 ticket offer are available at Wendy's locations around the Fort Wayne area. Also, fans can bring their skates for a free open skate after this Sunday's game against Evansville.
Get your tickets early-- Tickets for Komet home games are on sale at the Coliseum Ticket Office and online at TicketMaster.com. Season tickets for 2016-17 and discounted Group tickets are also on sale for all Komet home games at the Komet office at 1010 Memorial Way. Call the 260-483-0011 or visit komets.com for more information.
Komets on the air-- Komet games are scheduled to be aired on WOWO AM 1190 and FM 107.5 with Bob Chase calling the action radio-rinkside in his 63rd consecutive season. All Komet radio broadcasts can also be heard worldwide as presented by Omni Source Radio Recycle at www.komets.com. Soundoff With The Komets-- The 30-minute live telecast Soundoff With The Komets is hosted by Tommy Schoegler from SportOne/Parkview IceHouse each Monday night at 7:30 throughout the season. Tonight Komet goaltender Pat Nagle will be the guest.