Defenseman Nick Tuzzolino’s stint as captain of the Komets was a short one. He was traded to Elmira after 13 games this season, but the tradition he helped start remains.
That’s the tradition of the hard hat, which is actually an Army helmet from the Korean War, and defenseman Jordon Southorn had it on after the 3-2 overtime victory over the Cincinnati Cyclones on Saturday night at Memorial Coliseum.
The helmet, which was provided by Tuzzolino, is presented in the locker room after victories and the person who last donned it gets to choose the next recipient.
We just give the hard hat to the guy we feel played a rough style of game, blocked shots, that sort of thing, said Southorn, who scored the winning goal with a shot from the blue line that caromed off Cincinnati defenseman Taylor Aronson at 5:22. Tonight, they gave it to me because I had the overtime winner. There are a lot of guys who could have gotten it. (Defenseman Matthew) Maione had it last time, and he threw it my way.
Southorn was the player acquired for Tuzzolino on Nov. 25. He has two goals, five points and a plus-2 rating in nine playoff games.
The Komets and Cyclones are tied at 2 in the Eastern Conference semifinals, which continues tonight at the Coliseum.
Saturday was the Komets’ third overtime game of the playoffs.
They clinched their first-round, five-game series when Aaron Clarke scored in double overtime against the defending-champion Reading Royals at the Coliseum on April 27.
In Game 3 of this series, Cincinnati’s Josh Shalla scored a power-play goal in double overtime for a 3-2 victory.
The Komets went 0 for 3 on the power play Saturday, dropping them to 2 for 28 in the playoffs.
Cincinnati, which was also 0 for 3, is 3 for 30 in the postseason.
Mad Ants star Ron Howard dropped the puck for the ceremonial opening faceoff while holding on to the D-League championship trophy he helped capture in April. Neither team changed its lineup after Game 3. The Komets scratched Jason Dale, Sy Nutkevitch, Kenton Miller and Justin Sefton. An ECHL supervisor of officials, Jerry Pateman, was in attendance.