FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Komets opened their 65th season winning both games of a home-and-home series against the Quad City Mallards. It was the third straight year the Komets have successfully opened the season with back-to-back wins in home-and-home situations. Indy was the victim in 2014-15, Kalamazoo last year and Quad City this season.
Friday night the Komets spoiled the Mallards home opener with a 6-2 win. Jamie Schaafsma scored a pair of goals while Shawn Szydlowski, Jason Binkley, Gabriel Beaupre and Garrett Thompson each had markers. Mike Cazzola had a successful pro debut dishing three assists. Szydlowski and Binkley each had two assists for three-point nights. Goaltender Pat Nagle earned the win and has been Fort Wayne’s goaltender of record for the past three successful season opening weekends.
Saturday the Komets returned home to repel the Mallards 3-1 to the delight of 8,751 Fort Wayne faithful at the home opener. Brady Vail potted a pair of goals and Cazzola added his first pro goal for the game winner. Nagle earned the win making 26 saves on 27 shots. Fort Wayne improves to 62-38-12 all-time against Quad City.
Komet leaders— Binkley and Cazzola share the lead with three assists and four points each…..Schaafsma and Vail each lead with two goals….Szydlowski and Binkley lead with +4…..Taylor Crunk leads with 10 penalty minutes.
Early league leaders— After the first weekend of 2016-17, Binkley and Cazzola are among four players that rank second in the ECHL with four points….Cazzola leads rookies with four points and ranks third among rookies with +3….Binkley leads defensemen with four points….Taylor Crunk ranks third with 10 penalty minutes….among goalies that appeared in two games Nagle ranks second with a 1.50 goals-against average….the Komets amassed the most penalty minutes with 48, rank second on the power play with 40.0% (2/5) and rank third with nine goals.
Special K’s— The Komets finished opening weekend with the second-ranked power play in the league at 21.1% after scoriong a power play tally in each game (2/5). The Komets were 5/7 on the penalty kill for an 85.1% kill rating.
Streakers— Its only been two games, but six Komets had points in each of the games played over the season opening weekend. Vail (2g, 1a), Thompson (1g, 1a), Kyle Thomas (2a), Cazzola (1g, 3a), Schaafsma (2g, 1a) and Binkley (1g, 3a) each had marks to start the season with a short two-game point streak.
Komets pad opener records— Fort Wayne is now 35-25-5 after 65 season openers and 41-18-6 for home openers. The Komets opened 2014-15 with five straight wins and opened last season with four straight wins.
The week ahead—
- Fort Wayne Komets at Kalamazoo Wings Friday, 7pm
• Kalamazoo Wings at Fort Wayne Komets Saturday, 7:30pm
The Komets have another home-and-home weekend series which begins at Kalamazoo Friday at 7pm. The Komets host the Wings Saturday at 7:30pm. Already it will be a battle for first place in the Central Division between the two long-time rivals. The Wings also won both games played to open the season. Kalamazoo dropped the Admirals at Norfolk Friday 3-1 and again Saturday 3-0. The Komets were 7-1-0 in eight meetings last season against the Wings, and a perfect 4-0-0 at Wings Event Center (5,113). Both teams are idle until they meet Friday at Kalamazoo.