Mike Cazzola wasn’t expecting to get the MVP trophy he received Saturday, but his Komets teammates had indeed deemed him worthy of the honor.
“It was a team vote. I voted for (Shawn) Szydlowski. I thought he was one of the most consistent players all year,” said Cazzola, who led the Komets in goals (30) and points (76) in 67 games. “It means a lot that the guys voted for me. All the other awards are picked by coaches, (team officials and reporters), but this was picked by the players and it means a lot that they picked me. I didn’t have these kinds of expectations coming into the year.”
Cazzola, who played last season for Acadia University, finished tied with Toledo’s Tylor Spink for the ECHL’s rookie points lead, was second in rookie goals to Toledo’s Tyson Spink’s 33 goals, and was 10th overall in points.
The Komets, who defeated the Quad City Mallards 6-1, got two Mason Baptista goals while Mike Embach, Shawn Szydlowski, Kyle Thomas and Brett Perlini also found the back of the net.
Goaltender Pat Nagle, who is expected to start Game 1 on Friday at the Coliseum, stopped 24 of 25 shots and didn’t allow a goal until Mike Wilson finished the scoring 16:38 into the third period. Quad City’s Adam Vay, who should be the backup to C.J. Motte, stopped 32 of 38 shots and let three of the goals ricochet off his leg and into the net.
Here’s an update on the defensive corps: Will Weber is expected back for Game 1 against the Mallards on Friday at the Coliseum, Kyle Follmer is expected back for Game 3 and Bobby Shea should miss at least the first round.
Because of the way the roster, including injured reserve, is structured, the Komets may not bring another defenseman in before the series. That would mean, if another player goes down, we could see Jamie Schaafsma back on defense. I'm not saying I understand it, but that's what the Komets told the media.
As for Trevor Cheek, the Komets do expect him to return from Tucson of the American Hockey League.
“I’m proud of the guys. We had a bad second period; I didn’t like our second period. But we had a good response in the third. We’re just trying to fine-tune some things and take a look at some different things with our lines,” said coach Gary Graham, whose Komets (45-19-8) got the second seed in the division and won six of their last six games and 15 of their last 20.
“For us, right now, it’s great to end the regular season and you want to put on a good show playing in front of so many fans.”
Video highlights from the game are above.