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The Journal Gazette

  • John Schultz | Quad City Times Quad-City Mallard's Justin Kovacs tries to shoot with Fort Wayne's Dan Milan on his back, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, during first period action at the iWireless Center in Moline. Milan was called for holding.

  • John Schultz | Quad City Times Quad-City Mallard's Brady Brassart, goalie C.J. Motte and Fort Wayne's Travis Ewanyk react to Gabriel Desjardins goal, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, during second period action at the iWireless Center in Moline. The goal put the Komets up 2-1.

  • John Schultz | Quad City Times Fort Wayne's Kyle Thomas gets checked into the boards by Quad-City Mallard's Sam Warning, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, during first period action at the iWireless Center in Moline.

  • John Schultz | Quad City Times Fort Wayne's Gabriel Desjardins and Quad-City Mallard's Michael Parks battle for the puck, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, during first period action at the iWireless Center in Moline.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 10:50 pm

Thomas wins it for K's in OT

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

MOLINE, Illinois – It took only 22 seconds of overtime, after one of the least common of penalties had given the Komets a power play, and Fort Wayne’s Kyle Thomas netted a blast from 30 feet out at the iWireless Center.

With the 4-3 victory, the Komets have a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-7 series that continues here 8 p.m. Friday.

Quad City’s Grant Arnold was in the penalty box for failing to leave the ice after his helmet came off with seconds left in the third period.

It was the first appearance by the Komets in a playoff game at the iWireless Center since the 2003 finals in the United Hockey League.

Quad City out-shot Fort Wayne 36-35 after finally finding its offense following a lackluster first two games in that respect.

It was Thomas’ first goal of the playoffs, after a scoring change took one away from him earlier tonight and gave it to Shawn Szydlowski.

The winner of this series will face either top-seeded Toledo or Kalamazoo, which got a hat trick from Josh Pitt and won 8-5 tonight.

The Komets had not yet had possession of the puck in the offensive zone when the Mallards opened the scoring 1:27 into the first period, on a Michael Parks shot from 12 feet.

While Mallards goaltender C.J. Motte came up with a big save at 7:30, when Mike Embach redirected a Will Weber shot from the blue line, he was foiled by a Mike Cazzola redirection at 9:56. That goal was set up by a pass from the corner by Mason Baptista, who had been a healthy scratch in the first two games, 4-3 and 3-1 victories by the Komets at Memorial Coliseum.

Cazzola has nine goals and 16 points in his last 10 games.

After totaling only 31 shots in the first two games, including only 13 in the opener, the Mallards did something they hadn’t yet done by getting a 19th shot on goal just three minutes into the second period.

Seconds later, the Komets took a 2-1 lead on another redirection, this by Gabriel Desjardins, who had the Game 1 winner.

The Mallards tied it at 2 when Sam Warning netted a 15-foot shot at 14:20 that was set up by Brady Brassart’s pass from his knees that went across the slot.

Fort Wayne goalie Pat Nagle came up big by stopping a Arnold breakaway and then, at 17:16, the Komets went up 3-2 on a controversial goal initially given to Thomas. At the end of a 2-on-1 rush, Shawn Szydlowski’s shot from the right circle was stopped by Motte but the puck caromed off the shoulder of Quad City’s Guillaume Gelinas and in, though it was initially thought to have hit Thomas.

Fort Wayne’s Jason Binkley hit the post 8:02 into the third period and, seconds later, Trevor Cheek got a penalty for interfering with the goalie. On the ensuing 4-on-3 power play, the big play was made by Komets captain Jamie Schaafsma, who blocked a Chris Leibinger shot from 45 feet.

The Mallards tied it when Alex Petan got to the rebound of a Josh MacDonald shot that had hit the post and put it into an open net at 12:44.

Warning was pulled down from behind by Binkley late in the period but no penalty was called. Fort Wayne’s Travis Ewaynk had a chance to win it at 19:16 but his shot from 15 feet was thwarted by Motte’s left leg.

The Komets got a break by getting a power play with eight seconds left in regulation time because Arnold had lost his helmet but didn’t leave the ice.

Notes: The referees were Sean Fernandez and Kenny Anderson. … The only change to the Komets’ lineup from Games 1 and 2 was Baptista taking the place of Brett Perlini. Kyle Follmer, Taylor Crunk and Bobby Shea remained out. … One of the more memorable plays came in the second period, when Quad City’s Guillaume Gelinas upended Thomas with an open-ice check. … There was a first-period scrum between Weber Petan. In Game 1, Petan’s high stick cut open the face of Weber, who has since had to play with a full face shield.

jcohn@jg.net