Inside The Zone – 3/31

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Komets gained three out of four points for the two games played during week 24 of the 2013-14 campaign and improved to 31-23-12 and 74 points after 66 games to hold the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference race for playoff position.

The Komets started their two-game visit at South Carolina with a 7-4 win over the Stingrays Friday night at North Charleston Coliseum, matching their season high output of seven goals in a game set once before, a 7-2 win at Reading Dec. 7.  Aaron Clarke (LW) posted his best night of the season scoring a pair of goals while adding a pair of assists for a four-point affair.  Mike Embach (LW) scored his fifth three-point game of the season scoring a goal and adding two assists.  Brandon Marino netted a pair of markers for the fourth time this season while Joe Hartman (D) and Kenton Miller (C) also contributed tallies.  Goaltender Matt Grogan made this fourth straight appearance since joining the Komets, earning his third win making 15 saves on 19 shots.

Saturday the Komets completed the brief two-game stay at South Carolina falling 3-2 in overtime and matched last season’s brief two-game season series at 1-0-1.  Shawn Szydlowski (RW) and Clarke posted markers for Fort Wayne.  Clarke also added an assist for his third straight multi-point game.  Goaltender Max Strang, re-added to the Fort Wayne roster prior to the South Carolina trip, made his first Fort Wayne appearance since Jan. 15 stopping 27 of 30 shots.

How they stand in the Eastern Conference through games of March 30:

Rank Eastern GP W L OTL SOL PTS PCT GF GA STK P10 S/O PIM
1 x Reading Royals 66 42 21 2 1 87 0.659 211 169 2-0-0-0 7-2-1-0 4-1 866
2 x Kalamazoo Wings 66 39 20 2 5 85 0.644 204 179 0-1-0-1 6-2-0-2 4-5 1095
3 Orlando Solar Bears 66 40 22 2 2 84 0.636 211 200 2-0-0-0 5-5-0-0 4-2 1121
4 South Carolina Stingrays 67 39 22 2 4 84 0.627 181 159 0-1-0-0 4-5-0-1 5-4 820
5 Greenville Road Warriors 66 38 23 2 3 81 0.614 204 181 1-0-0-0 7-3-0-0 5-3 938
6 Cincinnati Cyclones 65 37 22 2 4 80 0.615 223 185 0-1-0-0 5-2-1-2 7-4 739
7 Wheeling Nailers 66 35 25 1 5 76 0.576 196 186 2-0-0-0 7-3-0-0 3-5 1115
8 Fort Wayne Komets 66 31 23 7 5 74 0.561 196 200 1-0-1-0 5-4-1-0 2-5 897
9 Florida Everblades 66 33 26 3 4 73 0.553 217 208 1-0-0-0 5-5-0-0 5-4 1013
10 Evansville IceMen 67 29 27 4 7 69 0.515 211 221 0-2-1-0 3-6-1-0 4-7 980
11 Gwinnett Gladiators 68 27 36 3 2 59 0.434 183 214 1-0-0-0 4-5-1-0 3-2 854
12 Elmira Jackals 66 22 36 3 5 52 0.394 159 224 0-9-1-0 0-9-1-0 1-5 936
13 Toledo Walleye 65 21 39 3 2 47 0.362 185 244 2-0-0-0 4-5-0-1 3-2 941

The week ahead– Two weeks and six games remain for the Komets.  This week the Komets will skate four games beginning at home Wednesday when Cincinnati visits for a 7pm faceoff.  The conference rival Cyclones trail first-place Reading by seven points with seven games remaining.  The Komets are 4-0-2 after six meetings with Cincy but 0-0-2 after two games in Fort Wayne this season.  The Cyclones split a pair of games at Florida over the weekend and are 5-2-0 in their last seven outings.

Friday the Komets make their last trip of the season to Toledo for a 7:15pm start.  Fort Wayne is 2-0-0 after two visits to the Huntington Center (7,431) and 5-0-1 overall against the Walleye, winning the last five straight meetings.  Toledo has been  mathematically eliminated from playoff qualification, however, the Walleye swept a home-and-home series against Kalamazoo over the weekend for a two-game win streak and are 3-1-1 in their last five matches.  Toledo will skate at Wheeling Tuesday and Wednesday before hosting the Komets Friday.

Saturday the Komets return home to face Cincinnati again at 7:30pm.  It’s the 10th of 11 Saturday home games for Fort Wayne (3-1-5).

Sunday the Komets will host Toledo at 5pm to complete a busy week of four games in five nights.

Hot Komets– Clarke has points in seven of his nine games (6g, 8a) since signing with the Komets and is riding a three-game, multi-point, goal and assist streak (4g, 4a)…..Szydlowski has points in seven of his last nine games (4g, 5a) and enters this week on a three-game point streak (1g, 2a)…..Embach has points in eight of the last nine games (8g, 6a) and has a three-game assist and point streak (2g, 4a)…..The Komets have points in four of their last five games (3-1-1).

Komet leaders– Marino leads the ECHL with 54 assists and 80 points…..Chris Auger (LW) leads the Komets and ranks fourth in the ECHL with 26 goals…..William Lacasse (D) leads with +14…..Kaleigh Schrock (RW) leads with 151 penalty minutes……among defensemen Jordon Southorn leads with 11 goals while Jace Coyle leads with 23 assists and 31 points.

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