Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Komets' Shawn Szydlowski, left, tries to stop Mallards' Kyle Bigos from getting the puck during the second period of the game against Quad City Mallards on Saturday.
Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Komets players celebrate after teammate Ryan Lowney, far left, scored a goal during the second period of the game against Quad City Mallards on Saturday.
Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Komets' Joseph Widmar, left, tries to get ahold of the puck from Mallards' Kenney Morrison during the second period of the game against Quad City Mallards on Saturday.
Saturday, December 23, 2017 10:40 pm
Komets 7, Quad City 0
Houser gets Komets' first shutout since March
JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette
The Komets continue to be very good.
The Quad City Mallards? Not so much.
Put those things together and you get the Komets’ 7-0 victory Saturday at Memorial Coliseum.
Michael Houser, who is the ECHL’s reigning Goaltender of the Week, stopped 18 shots for the Komets’ first shutout since March 25, when Garrett Bartus stopped 27 saves in a victory over Houser’s former team, Cincinnati, at the Coliseum.
Gabriel Desjardins scored twice for Fort Wayne (17-7-2), which has won 12 of its last 14 games, and improved to 4-0-0 this season against Quad City.
“That’s pretty good considering we were pretty cold there for awhile (losing 4 of 6) in November,” Houser said. “Since that (4-3 overtime loss Nov. 17 to) Kansas City, we’ve been pretty good and we haven’t given other teams too much of a chance. We had a couple close games, but other than that we haven’t given up too much and that’s been nice for me and Barts standing back there.”
For the Mallards (8-17-2), it was an eighth straight loss, all of which have come in regulation time except Wednesday’s 5-4 loss to the Komets in overtime in Moline, Illinois, thanks to a Jamie Schaafsma goal at the end of a 2-on-1 rush.
This was the Komets’ first game since then, while the Mallards lost 7-4 Friday night at home to Cincinnati.
“We’re definitely on a roll, but there’s still always stuff on which you can improve,” said forward Garrett Thompson, whose goal in the waning seconds gave him three goals and eight points in the last five games.
“That just goes (with work) away from the arena and back to the arena for practice. There are little things you can tweak, little things you can change. It is nice having the streak that we are, playing well and putting games together, but there are still some goals that we want to all accomplish together and everybody’s on the same page of wanting to accomplish those. That’s a huge part of the reason we’re having success is that everybody’s contributing and everybody’s following the same game plan.”
Stationed just in front of the Quad City net, Logan Nelson opened the scoring during a power play 12:24 into the first period, chipping the puck over the shoulder of goalie Matt O’Connor.
Nelson is on a seven-game point-scoring streak, during which he has two goals, eight points and a plus-7 rating.
But that pace is being outdone by Shawn Szydlowski, whose cross-ice pass set up Schaafsma’s power-play goal on a shot from the left circle 1:28 into the second period. Szydlowski, who missed Wednesday's game, has at least one point in 12 of his last 13 games, totaling 10 goals and 23 points in that span.
Just 38 seconds after Schaafsma’s goal, the Komets took a 3-0 lead on just 14 shots when Ryan Lowney netted a blast from the top of the right circle.
The Komets got a five-minute 5-on-3 power play – Kenney Morrison was penalized for cross-checking and there was a bench minor for arguing the call – and the Mallards allowed only two shots during the advantage. However, with the penalty just having expired and the Mallards’ players rejoining the play, Mason Baptista got to a rebound and scored from 15 feet for a 4-0 lead 20 seconds into the third period.
A Nelson faceoff win set up Desjardins for a slapshot goal from 40 feet out and a 5-0 lead, at 3:51 in front of 6,739 fans, and Desjardins scored on a 12-foot backhand shot at 16:18 to make it 6-0.
Notes: Marco Roy, who led the Komets in scoring with five goals and 16 points in 13 games before he was called up to San Jose of the American Hockey League, has been released and is returning to the Komets. He was scoreless with four penalty minutes and a minus-6 rating in seven games with the Barracuda but hasn’t played since Dec. 13. … The Komets played without forwards Justin Hodgman (shoulder), Dennis Kravchenko (back), Louick Marcotte, Zac Larraza and goalie Sean Maguire. ... Coach Gary Graham said Roy and Kravchenko should be in the lineup for the next game, Wednesday at Cincinnati.