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The Journal Gazette

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets defense Dan Maggio moves the puck down the ice in the first period against Toledo Friday night at the Coliseum.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets center Mason Baptista moves the puck down the ice in the first period against Toledo Friday night at the Coliseum.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets right wing Shawn Szydlowski eyes the net in the first period against Toledo Friday night at the Coliseum.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets right wing Shawn Szydlowski takes a shot at the goal in the first period against Toledo Friday night at the Coliseum.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets left wing Garrett Thompson being held back by Toledo defense Beau Schmitz, left and Patrick McCarron, right as he tries to make a goal at the Coliseum on Friday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets forward Zac Larraza and Toledo right wing Tyler Barnes collide on the ice in the First period at the Coliseum on Friday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets left wing Garrett Thompson takes a shot at the goal in the first period against Toledo Friday night at the Coliseum.

Friday, December 01, 2017 11:00 pm

Szydlowski leads Komets' comeback

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

The fans were certainly antsy, fearful they may never get to throw the hundreds, maybe thousands, of stuffed animals onto the ice they brought for charity for the annual Teddy Bear Toss tonight.

They needed that first Komets goal and, through two periods, it still hadn’t come.

But the third period brought relief, as the Komets rallied from a two-goal deficit and emerged with a 3-2 victory in an overtime shootout at Memorial Coliseum.

Fort Wayne and Toledo were two of the ECHL’s five teams that hadn’t been in overtime shootouts before tonight.

Shawn Szydlowski had the only goal of the shootout, to go with his regulation goal that broke the shutout and also a fight for the Komets in their rally.

It was a display of grit from the Komets, who have been decimated by injuries, illness and call-ups, and had a lineup nothing like the one they put together in the offseason to combat, specifically, the Walleye.

Fort Wayne is 3-1-0 against Toledo this season.

Neither team had a shot on goal in the first 4:33 and the Komets didn’t get their first shot until Ryan Culkin’s blast from the blue line at 6:02.

But things picked up and Toledo goaltender Matej Machovsky totaled 13 saves in the first period, including one on a breakaway by Szydlowski and one on Garrett Thompson, who split the defense to snap a tough-angled shot at 10:50.

Toledo’s Kyle Bonis scored on a breakaway for a 1-0 lead at 11:54 and Tyler Barnes’ pass out of the corner set up Erik Bradford for a one-timer and a 2-0 lead at 19:46.

During a second period in which Fort Wayne had 12 of the 17 shots, the Komets failed to get much sustained offensive pressure and Bonis had perhaps the best scoring chance stopped by Fort Wayne goalie Michael Houser at the end of an odd-man rush.

The 7,495 fans finally got to fling their stuffed animals onto the ice – they were collected for the non-profit Disorderly Bear Den – after Szydlowski held off defenseman Patrick McCarron to get to the rebound of a Culkin shot and sweep it into the net 3:45 into the third period.

Szydlowski dropped the gloves to fight Parker Reno just 36 seconds later and Culkin netted the game-tying goal with a shot from the left circle at 5:09, keeping the puck just underneath the crossbar.

In regulation time, Machovsky stopped 34 shots and Houser 16. In the 3-on-3 overtime, Toledo outshot Fort Wayne 2-1.

Toledo came into the night 9-0-0 when leading after one period and 10-0-1 when leading after 2. Meanwhile, the Komets were 0-5-1 when down after one period and 0-5-2 when trailing after two.

Notes: The Komets played without Justin Hodgman (shoulder), captain Jamie Schaafsma (illness), Dennis Kravchenko (back), Gabriel Desjardins (groin), Artur Tyanulin (Tucson of higher-level American Hockey League) and Marco Roy (AHL), but Logan Nelson made his debut after being acquired from the Orlando Solar Bears in a trade last weekend. … Schaafsma might make the trip to Wheeling, West Virginia, for Sunday’s game but the others won’t go. … Kravchenko had a team-best four goals in three previous games against the Walleye. Tyson Fawcett, no longer with the Komets, accounted for another three of the team’s 12 goals.

jcohn@jg.net