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The Journal Gazette

Friday, February 16, 2018 9:50 pm

Roy's goal gives Komets 1st place

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Neither Mother Nature nor illness could keep the Komets from beating the Wheeling Nailers and taking over first place in the Central Division tonight.

Playing without some of their biggest stars, the Komets secured a 4-3 victory thanks to Marco Roy’s goal with 33 seconds left in front of 2,417 fans at WesBanco Arena, near flooding waters in Wheeling, West Virginia.

Roy got to the rebound of a Bobby Shea shot and poked it underneath goaltender Adam Morrison, as the Komets (34-13-3) improved to 13-1-1 in their last 15 games. Trevor Cheek scored twice and has seven goals and nine points during his seven-game point-scoring streak.

The Komets played without the ECHL’s leading scorer, Shawn Szydlowski, Justin Hodgman, who has two goals and seven points in his last five games, and Cody Sol, all of whom were ill.

They did, however, have Artur Tyanulin, who arrived from Tucson of the American Hockey League before the game in Wheeling, where they have postponed Saturday’s game against the Cincinnati Cyclones because of the rising waters.

Michael Houser stopped 28 shots for the Komets, now 5-1-0 this season against the Nailers (28-21-4), who got 34 saves from Morrison.

Wheeling’s Jaynen Rissling opened the scoring with a one-timer in front of the net 7:37 into the first period.

Cheek answered at 19:19 getting to the rebound of a shot by Zac Larraza, who had circled the offensive zone before sending a backhand shot in from the right circle.

A slow-developing 3-on-2 rush ended with a Gabriel Desjardins sending a pass to Justin MacDonald for a Fort Wayne goal and a 2-1 lead 3:16 into the second period. Cheek made it 3-1 with a shot from the right circle at 12:57.

But the Nailers rallied to tie it on goals from Ross McMullan at 15:25 and Bryan Arneson, who stripped Ryan Culkin of the puck and snapped a shot in from the right circle 54 seconds into the third period.

The Komets, who have a one-point lead on the Toledo Walleye and are second in the ECHL standings to the Florida Everblades, play host to the Quad City Mallards at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Coliseum.