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The Journal Gazette

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette The Komets' Logan Nelson moves the puck during the second period Wednesday at the Coliseum.

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette The Komets' Jason Binkley, right, and the Fuel's Zach Miskovic fight for the puck during the first period Wednesday at the Coliseum.

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette The Komets' Cody Sol, right, gets checked against the glass by the Fuel's Andrew Schmit during the first period Wednesday at the Coliseum.

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Komets goalie Michael Houser blocks the puck during the second period Wednesday at the Coliseum.

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette The Komets' Jason Binkley, left, and the Fuel's Zach Miskovic fight for the puck during the first period Wednesday at the Coliseum.

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette The Komets' Justin Hodgman lunges towards the puck so he can get to it first during the first period Wednesday at the Coliseum.

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette The Komets' Jason Binkley moves the puck across the ice during the first period Wednesday at the Coliseum.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 10:20 pm

Another great 3rd period, K's win again

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

The Komets have been the ECHL’s most productive offensive team in the third period of games.

And it’s not even close.

They netted two goals in the third period tonight, surging to a 4-2 victory over the Indy Fuel in front of 5,696 fans at Memorial Coliseum.

The Komets, who are 12-1-1 in their last 14 games, have outscored opponents this season 91-50 in the third periods of games.

Coming into the night, the Komets had scored at least 24 more third-period goals than the 26 other ECHL teams. North Division-leading Manchester was the closest in that department, but the Monarchs are also seven points back of Fort Wayne, which is now only one point back of the Toledo Walleye for the Central Division lead.

In a game that saw a couple of dirty plays, Gabriel Desjardins had a goal and an assist for the Komets (33-13-2), who have won six of the seven meetings this season with the Fuel (21-23-3). Over the last five seasons, the Komets have a lopsided 29-6-3 record against the Fuel, including a 15-1-3 mark at the Coliseum.

The Komets had myriad chances from within 20 feet to score in the first period, including a breakaway by captain Jamie Schaafsma that was thwarted by goaltender Matt Tomkins at 14:48, just after Fort Wayne’s Cody Sol fought Indy’s Andrew Schmit.

The Indy netminder continued to come up big, foiling Trevor Cheek to keep the game scoreless 4:33 into the second period after Ryan Culkin had fired the puck off the boards behind the net and it caromed wildly through the crease and onto Cheek’s stick. Cheek got another good opportunity at the end of a 3-on-1 rush at 7:18 but he fired the puck right into Tomkins’ chest. Cheek’s goal-scoring streak ended at five games.

The game turned when Indy’s Reed Seckel checked Justin Hodgman in the corner and he received a major penalty from referee Jonathan Sitarski for boarding. Hodgman was OK and, on the ensuing power play, he skated in alone on Tomkins and snapped the puck into the far side of the net for a 1-0 lead at 12:42.

Things continued to intensify, including Indy’s Garrett Clarke getting a double-minor for spearing Hodgman, and the Fuel’s Darian Dziurzynski scoring at 18:57, when he was left alone in front of the net to snap a shot above netminder Michael Houser.

But it took Fort Wayne’s Desjardins only 12 seconds to respond with a shot from the left circle for a 2-1 lead.

The teams began pushing and shoving before the third period even began – Hodgman and Schmit got penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct – and Desjardins’ cross-ice pass set up the ECHL’s leading scorer, Shawn Szydlowski, for a goal and a 3-1 lead 1:07 into the period. And Ryan Lowney’s shot from the left circle made it 4-1 just 53 seconds later.

jcohn@jg.net