Friday, March 31, 2017 10:50 pm
Komets top Cincy, secure No. 2 seed
Despite squandering yet another lead, the Komets recovered with a Trevor Cheek goal and a solid defensive third period, and they defeated the Cincinnati Cyclones 4-3 on Friday night at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The victory, coupled with a Quad City loss, ensured the Komets home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. With five games left, the Komets (41-18-8) remain mathematically capable of catching Toledo for the division title because they're 10 points back. The teams play twice more, so that's not completely unrealistic, but the Walleye has won seven of their last nine games.
Fort Wayne is on an 11-3-1 run.
The Komets ensured themselves at least the second seed in the divisional playoffs; Games 1 and 2 will be at Memorial Coliseum on April 14 and 15 against either Quad City or Kalamazoo. Quad City is currently the third seed in the division.
A familiar storyline played out as the Komets built a lead Friday and then let the Cyclones (35-29-4) recover.
A power-play goal by Jamie Schaafsma 12:44 into the second period made it a 3-1 lead for the Komets, who had also gotten goals from Brett Perlini and Mike Cazzola, the latter with a man-advantage. Schaafsma, the Komets' captain, has tallied a point in eight of nine games since returning from a broken bone in his hand.
Cincinnati tied it at 3 on goals by Jaynen Rissling and Tommy Mele, a former Fort Wayne player, before Cheek regained the lead for the Komets with an unassisted goal at 19:01 of the second period.
The Komets outshot the Cyclones 7-1 in the third period, 25-19 for the game, and Pat Nagle got the victory in net. Fort Wayne scored on both its power plays. Cincinnati was 1 for 3.
After the final buzzer, Fort Wayne Taylor Crunk fought Jonathan Diaby. Cheek had fought Dominic Zombo shortly after scoring.
Cazzola had three points for the Komets.
The Komets play today at Indianapolis and then begin a home-and-home series with ECHL-leading Toledo on Sunday in Ohio. The Indy Fuel beat Toledo 4-1 on Friday night.