Fort Wayne, IN-- The Komets pushed their point streak to 10 games (9-0-1) by sweeping three games for week 19 and improved to 35-13-3 and 73 points after 51 games. The Komets move into first place in the Central division, overtaking Toledo and leading the Walleye by a point with a game in hand entering week 20.
The Komets began the week with a 4-2 home win over intrastate rival Indy Wednesday night. Justin Hodgman opened the scoring on Fort Wayne's second power play at 12:42 of the second period. Late in the period Indy's Darian Dziurzynski solved Fort Wayne goaltender Michael Houser at 18:57 but Gabriel Desjardins took the lead back for the Komets 12 seconds later to send the game into the second period with Fort Wayne leading 2-1. The Komets set the tone in the third period with two goals in the first two minutes by Shawn Szydlowski and Ryan Lowney for the eventual victory. Bobby Shea and Marco Roy each scored two assists. Goaltender Houser also earned his second assist of the season while posting his 21st win making 22 saves on 24 shots.
Friday the Komets clipped the Nailers 4-3 at Wheeling. The Komets had mounted a 3-1 lead on a pair of goals by Trevor Cheek and a marker by Justin MacDonald before the Nailers rallied to tie the game at 3-3 at 0:54 of the third period. Roy made it a fantastic finish scoring a dramatic goal out of scramble in front of the net with 33 seconds remaining. Zac Larraza logged his first three-point game of the season with three helpers. Houser earned his fourth straight win stopping 28 of 31 shots. The Komets improved to 4-1-0 against Wheeling with one meeting remaining.
Saturday the Komets capped the week by stopping the visiting Quad City Mallards 4-1 in front of a Fort Wayne crowd of 9,033. Garrett Thompson netted two goals for his seventh multi-goal game of the season and added an assist for his fifth three-point game. Hodgman and Roy also added goals as netminder Garrett Bartus pushed his unbeaten streak to 9-0-1 allowing only one goal on 27 shots. The Komets are unbeaten in regulation by the Mallards after eight meetings this season, going 7-0-1 with one meeting remaining.
For the week, Desjardins (1g, 4a) and Roy (2g, 3a) led the Komets with five points each. Scoring three points were Cheek (2g, 1a), Bobby Shea (3a), Larraza (3a) and Thompson (2g, 1a). Houser backstopped two games and allowed five goals for a 2.50 goals-against average and stopped 60 of 65 shots for a .923 save percentage. Bartus made 26 saves on 27 shots and earned Saturday's win in his only appearance.
Komet leaders-- Shawn Szydlowski leads with 37 assists, leads the league with 61 points and ranks second in the ECHL with +31....Gabriel Desjardins ranks second in the league with +30.....Szydlowski is tied with Gabriel Desjardins with a team high of 24 goals....Cody Sol leads with 105 penalty minutes....the Komets are the only ECHL team with three players in the top 10 including Szydlowski, Garrett Thompson (fourth with 56 points) and Desjardins (10th with 50 points)....Sol ranks second among defensemen with +27 and Ryan Lowney and Bobby Shea each have a third-best +25....The Komets lead the Western conference with 16 road wins and rank second in the league with 19 home wins.
Streaking Komets-- The Komets have three straight wins and a 10-game point streak (9-0-1)....Marco Roy has a seven-game point-scoring streak (5g, 5a) and a six-game home point streak (4g, 2a)....Justin Hodgman has points in six straight games (3g, 5a) and a six-game home point streak (3g, 6a)...Gabriel Desjardins has a four-game assist and point streak (1g, 5a) and a five game home point streak (4g, 4a)....Dennis Kravchenko has points in five straight games (2g, 8a)....goaltender Michael Houser has four straight wins.
Milestones-- The Komets have won 998 regular season road games in their 66-year history....Gabriel Desjardins eclipsed his old career season high of 46 points last week and has a new high of 50 points entering week 20.....Michael Houser matched his career season high of 22 wins with his victory Friday at Wheeling....Mason Baptista dished his 100th career point with an assist in Saturday's 4-1 home win over Quad City.
By the numbers-- Trevor Cheek and Garrett Thompson each had a pair of goals in games last week as Fort Wayne improves to 24-4-0 when a player scores two or more goals in a game....The Komets are now 26-0-0 when taking the lead into the third period....The Komets scored four goals in each of the three games and are now 32-1-0 when scoring at least four goals a game.Shooting the puck-- The Komets out-shot their opponents 117-82 for the week for a league-leading per-game average of 37.7 shots per game. The Komets are the sixth stingiest, giving up only 29.7 shots per game. The Komets also lead the league with an average of 4.3 goals per game and rank eighth at allowing only 2.9 goals per game.
Special K's-- The Komets only allowed one power play goal in eight kills and rank ninth in the league on the penalty kill (177/209, 84.7%). The Komets lead the ECHL with eight short-handed goals after Garrett Thompson's shorty in Saturday's 4-1 win over Quad City.
Oh what a February-- Currently the Komets are unbeaten in regulation for the month of February after nine games (8-0-1). February will be a winning month for the fifth straight year with three games remaining. The last time the Komets were unbeaten in regulation in a month was October, 2008 when they were 5-0-0. The last time in a month of at least 10 games or more, was March, 2008 when the Komets were 13-0-1. In the team's modern day history, dating back to 1994, the fewest losses in regulation in February was one, matched last year in February, 2017 when the Komets were 9-1-3 after 13 February games. The Komets also surrendered only one regulation loss in the month of February in 2008 and 2009.
After 51-- Last year at the 51-game plateau the Komets were 30-15-6 for 66 points. This year after 51 games, the Komets have improved to 35-13-3 and 73 points (.716). The last time the Komets reached 35 wins and 73 points after 51 games was 2014-15 when Coach Gary Graham had his Komets at 74 points (35-12-4) and went on to finish with 48 wins and 102 points (.708).
THE WEEK AHEAD: Friday and Saturday, Greenville Swamp Rabbits at Komets-- The Komets will host Greenville (20-28-4, 44 points) Friday at 8pm and Saturday at 7:30pm. It's the only two meetings of the season. The Komets are 3-2-1 all-time against Greenville. It's the first time the Komets have faced Greenville since they were 1-1-1 in three meetings in 2014-15 when Greenville was known as the Road Warriors. The last meeting was a 3-2 shootout loss at Greenville on Jan. 10, 2015, the night after a 4-1 Fort Wayne victory in a double-header at Greenville Jan. 9. The Komets are 2-2-0 when facing Greenville on Fort Wayne ice. Greenville defeated the Komets 3-1 on their last visit to Fort Wayne on Nov. 22, 2014. The Swamp Rabbits are 12 points out of a playoff spot in the South division with 20 games remaining. Greenville is riding a six-game losing streak and will host Atlanta Tuesday before traveling to Fort Wayne Friday.Pink the Rink Weekend-- This weekend will feature the seventh annual "Pink the Rink" Weekend as the Komets and the Vera Bradley Foundation team to fight breast cancer and promote awareness for early detection and treatment. The Komets will wear special jerseys that will be sold during a silent auction during Friday and Saturday's games against Greenville. Also, special "Pink the Rink" autographed player pucks will be on sale during the games for $10.00 each. Net proceeds will be donated to the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer.
Get your tickets early-- Tickets 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.