Inside The Zone – Komets Hockey – 2/3/14

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Komets gained five out of six points in three games played for week 16 of 2013-14 and improved to 19-14-9 for 47 points.  The Komets moved into playoff position, tied with Orlando and Greenville for seventh place in the Eastern Conference after 42 games.

 The week started with a 3-1 win at Wheeling Wednesday.  It was Fort Wayne’s first ever win over Wheeling as the Komets even the season series at 1-1-1 with one meeting remaining Feb. 16.  Simon Pepin (D), Shawn Szydlowski (RW) and Kaleigh Schrock (RW) each scored for the Komets while goaltender Ben Meisner continues unbeaten on the road this season (4-0-0) after making 21 saves on 22 shots for his fourth straight road win.

Friday the Komets slipped 4-3 in overtime against the visiting Elmira Jackals and completed the season series at 2-3-2 against the Jacks.  The Komets finished January with a 6-3-4 record and .615 winning percentage for the month, matching last year’s .615 pace for January.  Jace Coyle (D) scored the first two Komet goals while newcomer Jason Dale (F) scored a goal and added an assist in his first Komet appearance.  Brandon Marino (RW) dished three assists for his fourth three-point game of the season and reached 50 points on the season for his third straight year.  Meisner, making his fourth straight home start, made 25 saves on 29 shots.

 Saturday, after spotting the Cyclones at Cincinnati with a pair goals, the Komets scored six unanswered markers for their second straight victory over the North Division leading Cyclones, 6-2.  Fort Wayne is unbeaten in the Cincinnati series this year at 2-0-1 with five meetings remaining.  It was the second time this season the Komets have reached the six-goal plateau (also 7-2 at Reading Dec. 7). Mike Embach tallied a pair of goals while Matt Carter (LW), Sy Nutkevitch (F), Coyle and Szydlowski also found the twine.  Netminder Andrey Makarov earned his 12th win of the season (12-7-1) on 26 saves.

Komet leaders— Marino leads the ECHL with 35 assists and 53 points …..Marino and Chris Auger lead the Komets with 18 goals each…..Scott Fleming leads Komet rookies with +13 and ranks second among ECHL rookies with 23 assists and 34 points…..Jace Coyle leads Komet defensemen with six goals, 18 assists and 25 points.

 Streaking Komets— The Komets are riding a three-game point streak (2-0-1) and two-game road win streak……Marino has points in six straight games (2g, 8a) and assists in four straight games (6a)…..newcomer Dean Ouellet (F) joined the Komets last week and pushed his point streak started with San Francisco to a current ECHL-high seven games (4g, 5a) with an assist in his first Komet appearance Saturday night at Cincinnati…..goaltender Meisner pushed his unbeaten streak to four games (3-0-1) Friday against Elmira in his fourth straight home start (1-1-2).

Milestones— Christian Ouellet (RW) skated his 100th career game Friday against Elmira…..Mike Embach (F) dished his 100th career point when he assisted on Jace Coyle’s (D) goal Saturday at Cincinnati.  The game was also Embach’s second three-point outing of the season (2g, 1a).

 Special K’s— The Komets were a perfect 9-for-9 on the penalty kill for the week.  They have 10 straight kills over the last four games while going 37/39 on the PK over the last 12 games to rank second in the ECHL overall with an 88.8% success rate when playing short-handed.

 The week ahead— The Komets will host Kalamazoo (23-16-4, 50 points) Friday night at 8:00.  It’s the Wings’ third visit of six this season and the seventh meeting overall with the Komets an even 2-2-2 after six meetings.  The Komets dropped a 3-1 affair in the last meeting Jan. 15 at Kalamazoo.  The Komets trail Kalamazoo by three points in the battle for playoff position in the Eastern Conference.  The Wings are 3-1-1 in their last five games after snagging a 3-1 win out of Wheeling Saturday, Feb. 1 in their last outing.  Kalamazoo will host Elmira Wednesday before traveling to Fort Wayne Friday.

Saturday the Komets return to Cincinnati for another 7:35pm faceoff at U.S. Bank Arena (6,955).  The Cyclones are 3-2-0 in their last five games after falling to the visiting Komets at Cincinnati last Saturday night.  Cincinnati plays host to Toledo Tuesday and Friday before welcoming the Komets Saturday.

The Komets finish the week hosting the Kalamazoo Wings again Sunday at 5pm.  It will be the fourth of six Komet Sunday home games this year (2-1-0).

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