FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Komets swept a home double-header weekend against the Wheeling Nailers for week 21 of 2016-17 and improved to 35-15-7 for 77 points after 57 games. The Komets extended their winning streak to a season-high five games while out-scoring their opponents 21-8.
Saturday the Komets started the weekend set with a 4-3 win after rallying from a 3-1 deficit to take the victory with three unanswered goals in the third period. Four different players scored for Fort Wayne including Travis Ewanyk, Mike Embach, Mason Baptista and Trevor Cheek. Garrett Bartus earned his 18th win of the campaign stopping 27 of 30 shots in the Fort Wayne net.
Sunday the Komets clipped the Nailers 2-1 to take the season series 4-0-1. After spotting Wheeling the first goal in the second stanza Brett Perlini started another Komet comeback when he knotted the game at 1-1 at 17:53. Mike Cazzola scored the game winner 26 seconds into the third period on the power play. Komet goaltender Pat Nagle remains unbeaten in regulation this season after 11 games at 8-0-3 after collecting the win on 29 saves.
Streaking Komets— The Komets extended their point streak to nine games (7-0-2) and home point streak to 11 games (10-0-1) and enter week 22 riding a season-high five game winning streak…..Shawn Szydlowski finished the weekend on a five-game assist and point-scoring streak (1g, 7a) and a four-game home assist and point streak (1g, 6a).
Komet leaders— Kyle Thomas, who is on call-up to the AHL with the Cleveland Monsters, leads with 25 goals and 62 points…..Mike Cazzola leads with 40 assists…..Thomas leads with nine power play goals….Mike Embach and Trevor Cheek lead with five game winners each…Shawn Szydlowski and Jamie Schaafsma lead with 15 power play assists…..Curtis Leonard leads with +27…..Cody Sol leads with 151 penalty minutes.
Third period power— Saturday and Sunday combined the Komets out-shot Wheeling 29-21 and out-scored the Nailers 4-0. The K’s have out-scored opponents in the third period 81-48.
Home cooking— The Komets enter week 22 with the best home record in the league at 23-5-1 with seven home games remaining. Fort Wayne also owns the best home penalty kill record with a 90.5% rating (114/126). The Komets have scored the most short-handed goals at home with eight (tied with Colorado). When at home the Komets are 12-1-0 when leading after the first period and 16-0-0 when taking the lead into the third period. In tight games on Coliseum ice the Komets are 10-1-1 in one-goal decisions and 5-1-0 in two-goal games. The Komets have out-shot their opponents on 24 home dates going 19-4-1.
Five weeks until the playoffs and counting— In the Western Conference, Central division leader Toledo has clinched a spot in the ECHL 2017 playoffs. The second-place Komets have kept pace with the Walleye and continue to trail Toledo by eight points with 16 games remaining for each team. Fort Wayne’s magic number is 4/Tulsa. Any combination of points won by Fort Wayne or points lost by Tulsa equaling four clinches the 56th post season berth for the Komets all-time and their fourth ECHL playoff berth since joining the league in 2012-13.
ECHL playoff tie breakers— If two teams are tied at the end of the regular season, the first four tie breakers are (1) regular season wins minus shootout wins, (2) goal differential, (3) head-to-head points (for two teams that have not played the same number of home games against the other tied team, the first games played in the city that has the extra home games shall not be included), (4) division winning percentage.
The week ahead
Komets at Indy Fuel (15-37-5, 35 points) Friday and Saturday– The Komets travel to Indianapolis to face the intrastate rival Fuel Friday and Saturday at 7:35 each night at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum (6,488). The Komets are unbeaten by the Fuel in the season series 6-0-0 with three meetings remaining. The Komets began their current five-game winning streak with a 5-1 win at Indy Feb. 24 in the last meeting. The Fuel are winless in their last five games (0-4-1) after a 6-1 loss at Quad City Saturday. Indy is idle this week until they host the Komets Friday and Saturday.