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K's lose but clinch playoff spot

Despite losing 6-1 at Colorado on Friday night, the Komets still nabbed a playoff berth in their first CHL season.

The Komets were in last place among the CHL’s 18 teams until February. After losing 16 of their first 21 games, the Komets are 27-24-6 heading into tonight’s game at Rapid City.

The Komets were the last of eight teams from the Turner Conference to get a playoff spot – there are nine games remaining in the regular season – and they did so because of last-place Evansville's 5-0 loss to Quad City.

Defenseman Brandon Warner scored a second-period goal for the Komets. Colorado (35-20-4) scored the first four goals of the game against the Komets, who won the last three championships in the IHL.

The Komets haven't missed the postseason since 2002, when they skated in the United Hockey League.

In other news, the Komets’ Frankie DeAngelis is one of five finalists for the CHL’s Most Outstanding Defenseman award, along with Rio Grande Valley’s Darcy Campbell, Tulsa’s Derek Eastman, Texas’ Jason Krischuk and Wichita’s Andrew Martens.

The finalists were determined by the CHL’s front office staff. DeAngelis has 11 goals and 41 points in 51 games, though he is currently out with a concussion. The winner will be chosen by coaches, team communication departments and media.

The MVP finalists are: Rapid City’s Ryan Menei, Colorado’s Riley Nelson, Missouri’s Rob Nolan, Odessa’s Sebastien Thinel and Allen’s Colton Yellow Horn.

Justin A. Cohn, pro sports coordinator for The Journal Gazette, has been covering the Fort Wayne Komets since 1997. His reporting includes game stories from home and away, features about the players and personalities associated with the Komets, plus coverage of issues affecting hockey at all levels. A native of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Cohn graduated from Emory University in Atlanta. He can be reached at 260-461-8429 or by email at jcohn@jg.net.

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