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The Journal Gazette

  • Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Komets defenseman Daniel Maggio, left, tries to block a shot from the Cincinnati Cyclones' Daniel Muzito-Bagenda on Friday at Memorial Coliseum.

  • Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Komets defenseman Jalen Smereck, in his first game since being sent down by the American Hockey League's Tucson Roadrunners, tries to slow down the Cincinnati Cyclones' Mike Barrett but ends up high-sticking him. No penalty was called on the play and Barrett's shot was stopped by goaltender Michael Houser at Memorial Coliseum.

  • Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Komets forward Garrett Thompson, right, beats the Cincinnati Cyclones' Chris Leone in a race for the puck at Memorial Coliseum as Cyclones goaltender Anthony Peters looks on Friday night. 

  • Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Komets forward Garrett Thompson, right, beats the Cincinnati Cyclones' Chris Leone in a race for the puck at Memorial Coliseum as Cyclones goaltender Anthony Peters looks on Friday night.

  • Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Komets defenseman Curtis Leonard, left, defends an odd-man rush by the Cincinnati Cyclones' Justin Danforth, top, and Shawn O'Donnell at Memorial Coliseum on Friday night.

  • Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Cincinnati Cyclones forward Dominic Zombo, left, misses the net as he's chased by the Komets' Taylor Crunk. Looking on are goaltender Michael Houser, middle, Komets defenseman Curtis Leonard and Cincinnati's Brandon McNally, top, at Memorial Coliseum. 

Friday, October 27, 2017 11:00 pm

Houser terrific but K's lose in OT

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

The Cincinnati Cyclones know as well as anyone what goalie Michael Houser is capable of doing, after he spent three of the last five seasons playing for them.

Houser’s heroics are now for the Komets, though, and he frustrated his former teammates with 22 saves in a 3-2 Cincinnati overtime victory.

Shawn O’Donnell netted the winner from 6 feet out in the 3-on-3 overtime for the Cyclones, and Fort Wayne coach Gary Graham after the game was displeased with the lapses by his team.

The Cyclones had seven odd-man rushes and failed to score on any of them during regulation time. But only once did they fail to get a shot on Houser during those surges down the Memorial Coliseum ice, where Fort Wayne (2-1-1) has played each of its games this season.

After winning two of their first three games, the Komets’ lineup was drastically different. Not only were there injuries to Justin Hodgman, Cody Sol and Gabriel Desjardins, but three new players had been assigned from Tucson of the higher-level American Hockey League: forwards Artur Tyanulin and Zac Larraza and, just sent Friday, defenseman Jalen Smereck.

The new lineup took some time to hit its stride and the Komets didn’t start making their way back from a two-goal deficit until late in the second period, and the newcomers each played a part.

All the changes were most evident on the defensive end, where Houser had to foil Mike Barrett, Dominic Zombo and Justin Danforth on breakaways in the scoreless first period when the Komets’ only really good scoring chance came on the doorstep by Marc-Olivier Roy.

The Cyclones, who had 15 of the first 23 shots, broke through 6:48 into the second period when Winston Day Chief got to a rebound that was bouncing outside the crease and swatted it into the bottom of the net for a 1-0 lead in front of 7,471 fans.

Tyanulin, the speedy 2017 finalist for the Ontario Hockey League’s Most Outstanding Player Award, won a race for the puck in the corner and set up captain Jamie Schaafsma for a scoring chance that was thwarted by goalie Anthony Peters. Seconds later, the Cyclones took a 2-0 lead when Andrew Radjenovic sent a slapshot from the right circle into the net at 14:17.

Tyanulin atoned with a goal at 19:23, when he was stationed in front of the net, found Curtis Leonard’s 40-foot shot mid-air and redirected it past Peters.

Larraza tied it at 2 at 3:43 of the third period, when he out-hustled Arvin Atwal for the puck, which had caromed off the boards in the corner, and sent a shot beneath a bewildered Peters who may have though whole play would have been negated by an icing. Smereck assisted on the goal.

The Komets had a chance to avoid overtime with 10 seconds remaining, when Jason Binkley fired a shot from the right circle during a 3-on-2 rush, but Peters stopped both it and the attempt off a rebound by Garrett Thompson.

Cincinnati outshot Fort Wayne 24-23 in regulation time.

The Komets were 5-1-1 last season against the Cyclones (1-1-1), who have scored only seven goals this season.

Notes: The Cyclones received three penalties for delay of game. Two were because of the new rule from the NHL down to the ECHL, in which a penalty is given if a team is caught cheating twice on the same faceoff. … Smereck played last season for Flint of the Ontario Hockey League, totaling nine goals and 45 points in 60 games before signing a three-year contract with the Arizona Coyotes. … Healthy scratches for Fort Wayne were Mason Baptista and Ryan Lowney. … Hodgman and Desjardins may need a couple of weeks to return, general manager David Franke said, and Sol could be back next week. … The referee was Matt Menniti.

jcohn@jg.net