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The Journal Gazette

  • Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette Jamie Schaafsma of the Komets maneuvers out of traffic against Alaska during the first period Wednesday at the Coliseum.

  • Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette Garrett Thompson of the Komets gets a bead on Alaska goalie Kevin Carr as he scores during the first period Wednesday at the Coliseum.

  • Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette Komets Mike Cazzola, left, and Mike Embach, right, check on injured teammate Shawn Szydlowski, who took a fall against Alaska, during the first period Wednesday at the Coliseum.

  • Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette Kyle Thomas of the Komets gets a shot at the Alaska goal during the first period Wednesday at the Coliseum.

  • Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette Kyle Thomas of the Komets skates around Nolan Descoteaux, left, and Yan-Pavel Laplante of Alaska during the first period Wednesday at the Coliseum.

  • Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette Komets goalie Pat Nagle stops a point-blank shot from Charlie Sampair of Alaska during the second period Wednesday at the Coliseum.

  • Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette Shawn Szydlowski of the Komets takes on goalie Kevin Carr and center Brad Navin of Alaska during the first period Wednesday at the Coliseum.

  • Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette Taylor Crunk of the Komets fights Garet Hunt of Alaska during the first period Wednesday at the Coliseum.

  • Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette Bobby Shea of the Komets looks for a teammate as Matt Geurts of Alaska closes in during the first period Wednesday at the Coliseum.

  • Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette Mike Embach of the Komets has position on Brad Navin of Alaska during the first period Wednesday at the Coliseum.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 10:20 pm

Komets ace Alaska 5-2

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

After a 5-2 victory tonight, the Komets probably wish this wasn’t the first and last time the Alaska Aces had a game at Memorial Coliseum.

The Komets (40-18-8) ably recovered from a dreadful 6-4 loss Sunday to the Florida Everblades, who recovered from a four-goal deficit at the Coliseum, and Fort Wayne is now 10-3-1 in its last 14 games.

With six games left in the regular season, the playoff-bound Komets are 12 points behind league-and division-leading Toledo and six points up on Quad City for the second seed in the divisional playoffs.

(Video highlights of the game are above.)

The Aces (31-26-10), who are still battling for a playoff spot, are suspending operations after this season because of financial difficulties and have lost seven of their last 10 games.

The Komets had eight of the game’s first nine shots, including a 15-footer by Trevor Cheek that was gloved by Kevin Carr at 4:30, seconds after Gabriel Desjardins had a chance at an open net but hit the right post.

Atonement came at 5:17 when Shawn Szydlowski’s shot from 45 feet out ricocheted off a defender and past Carr for a power-play goal and a 1-0 lead. Szydlowski would suffer an apparent ankle injury later in the period, when he fell awkwardly because of interference by Nolan Descoteaux, but he returned in the second period.

Alaska’s Peter Sivak, the former Komets forward who has 34 goals and 62 points in 48 games this season, finished off a 2-on-1 rush to tie it at 1 at 12:10 of the first period. But Garrett Thompson regained the lead for the Komets with a shot from the left circle at 16:00, at which point the Komets had 18 of the game’s 23 shots.

While the first period featured a fight between Fort Wayne’s Taylor Crunk and Alaska’s Garet Hunt, who led the ECHL in penalty minutes last season and is second this season, Curtis Leonard took exception to a Brad Navin check and instigated a fight 6:17 into the second period. On the ensuing power play, Alaska’s Chase Van Allen hit the post.

Fort Wayne’s Mike Cazzola, who is third among ECHL rookies with 67 points in 61 games, whacked repeatedly at the puck before tucking it between Carr and the right goalpost for a 3-1 lead 12:41 into the second period. Mike Embach spun and shot from 35 feet out for a power-play goal and a 4-1 lead at 14:44, at which point the shots were 32-18 in Fort Wayne’s favor.

Hunt scored for Alaska at 19:20 of the third period and Desjardins then got an empty-net goal.

The Komets play Friday at Cincinnati, Saturday at Indianapolis and Sunday at Toledo, Ohio. They have four games remaining against either Toledo or Quad City, meaning their playoff positioning could change.

Notes: Mitch Jones, the son of former Komets player Brad Jones, is a defenseman for Alaska. … Fort Wayne-native Alex Zion was the emergency backup goalie for the Aces because Michael Garteig was called up to the Utica Comets of the American Hockey League. … The referee was Sean Fernandez. … Komets defenseman Cody Sol played without a full face shield for the first time in six weeks. … Atlanta’s game at Norfolk was postponed because of poor ice conditions.

jcohn@jg.net