FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Komets took a split of a weekend series at Quad City to gain two points for week 13 and maintained first place in the Midwest Division of the ECHL’s Western Conference. The Komets finished the week at 18-11-2 after 31 games and lead second-place Quad City by a point, third-place Indy by two points and fourth-place Cincinnati by three points in the division’s tight race.
Friday the Komets opened the two-game set at Moline, Illinois with a 7-4 win, matching their season highs of seven goals in a game and a four-game winning streak. It was the third seven-goal effort by Fort Wayne this season. Joe Perry logged his first pro hat trick and added an assist for his first pro four-point night. Garrett Thompson netted a pair of goals while Jamie Schaafsma and Shawn Szydlowski each contributed a marker and two assists for three point games. Jordon Southorn passed three assists for is second three-pointer of the season. Goaltender Pat Nagle earned the win on 26 saves. It was Fort Wayne’s first win against Quad City since March 2, 2012, a 7-2 victory at Quad City in the CHL.
Sunday the Komets were turned back by netminder Steve Michalek and the Mallards 2-0. Michalek stopped all 42 Fort Wayne shots for the win and his first career shutout. Komet goaltender Pat Nagle had his win streak snapped at four games making 22 saves on 24 shots in his ninth straight start. Nagle also stopped a penalty shot by Quad City’s Matt Carey to improve to 2-1 on penalty shots this season. The Komets are 1-2-0 after the first three meetings of the season at Quad City. The four remaining meetings will be held in Fort Wayne.
Komet leaders— Mike Embach 13 goals, eight power play goals, 30 points and 98 shots….Embach and Garrett Thompson 17 assists…..Thompson eight power play assists…..Cody Sol 88 penalty minutes.
Hold that lead— The Komets were up 4-3 at the end two periods Friday night at Quad City to improve to 11-0-0 when taking the lead into the third period. The Komets are 11-3-0 when leading after the first period.
Special K’s— The Komets lead the ECHL with a power play rating of 24.0% (30/125). The Komets reached 26 straight successful penalty kills last week before allowing a power play goal at Quad City Friday and rank seventh overall on the PK with an 85.7% rating (114/133).
The Komets will skate four games in five nights starting with a trip to Cincinnati Wednesday. Friday the Komets begin a three game home stand for the weekend when Orlando visits at 8pm. Rapid City is in town for back-to-back games Saturday and Sunday.
Wednesday, Jan. 13, Komets (18-11-2, 38 points) at Cincinnati Cyclones (15-13-5, 35 points), 7:35pm— The Komets skate at Cincinnati Wednesday at 7:35pm to cap a five-game road tour before returning home to host three games in three nights this weekend. The Komets are 1-3-0 after four games against the Clones this season and 1-1-0 after two visits to the U.S. Bank Arena (6,955) this year after a 3-2 overtime win on their last visit Nov. 25. Wednesday’s trip will be Fort Wayne’s third of seven and the fifth of 10 overall this year. Cincinnati is winless in their last three games (0-2-1) and 2-3-1 in their last six. The division rival has fallen into fourth place in the Midwest Division and trails the first-place Komets by three points in the tight race to the top. Cincinnati is idle this week until they travel to Fort Wayne Wednesday.
Friday, Jan. 15, Orlando Solar Bears (15-14-5, 35 points) at Komets, 8pm— Friday the Orlando Solar Bears visit at 8pm for the only meeting of the season. The Komets were unbeaten by the Solar Bears last season in three games (3-0-0). The last time the two teams met was for a two-game set at Orlando Feb. 13 and 14 last year. The Solar Bears are in last place (fifth) in the South Division of the Eastern Conference, trailing first-place Florida by 16 points but are surging with a three-game win streak and are 5-1-0 in their last six games. Orlando will skate at Kalamazoo Tuesday before traveling to Fort Wayne for Friday’s match.
Saturday, Jan. 16, Rapid City Rush (16-13-3, 35 points) at Komets, 7:30pm— Saturday the Komets host Rapid City at 7:30pm for the first of a pair of back-to-back home tilts against the Rush. It’s the first of four total meetings this season. The Rush will return the hosting favor with a pair of games in Rapid City March 4 and 5 to close out the season series. Saturday’s game will be the first meeting since Rapid City moved from the CHL to the ECHL last year. It’s also the first meeting since the Komets eliminated the Rush from the 2012 CHL playoffs 4 games to 2 in game six April 10 at Rapid City 4-3 in overtime. The Komets were 4-1-0 in five meetings during the regular season that year. The Rush hold third place in the West Division and trail first-place Utah by five points. Rapid City is 3-1-0 in their last four outings but 3-3-1 in their last seven. The Rush visit Evansville Wednesday and Indy Friday before making the trip to Fort Wayne Saturday.
Sunday, Jan. 17, Rapid City Rush at Komets, 5pm— Sunday the Komets finish the busy week hosting Rapid City at 5pm. It’s only the second of four Komet Sunday home games this year. After Sunday the Komets will be away for almost two weeks again. Next week the K’s hit the road for another triple-header weekend beginning with a visit to Cincinnati for games Friday, Jan. 22 and Saturday, Jan. 23 before traveling to Indy for a 3:05pm Sunday tilt on Jan. 24