Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Komets forward Logan Nelson, right, sends the Quad City Mallards' Willie Raskob flying to Memorial Coliseum ice as Keegan Kolesar and goaltender C.J. Motte look on Saturday night.
Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Komets forward Mason Baptista, front, battles for position to screen a shot from the point as Quad City Mallards Jake Bolton, left, Ryan McGrath and goaltender C.J. Motte, right, defend Memorial Coliseum ice Saturday night.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette The Komets continue to deny shots from the Quad City Mallards during the second period at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.
Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Komets forward Justin MacDonald drives Quad City Mallards forward Chris Izmirlian into Memorial Coliseum boards Saturday night.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Justin Hodgman of the Komets attacks the goal during the second period against the Mallards at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.
Brett LUke | The Journal Gazette The Komets force the Mallard’s goalie C.J. Motte into the net during the second period at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.
Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette After Komets forward Garrett Thompson, right, scored a first-period goal at Memorial Coliseum, he and forward Shawn Szydlowski, middle, call for defenseman Ryan Culkin to come celebrate with them against the Quad City Mallards on Saturday night.
Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Komets forwards Zac Larraza, bottom right, and Jamie Schaafsma, chase the puck in the corner Saturday night, but Quad City's Keegan Kolesar, bottom left, and Brayden Low have position at Memorial Coliseum.
Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Komets forward Garrett Thompson, left, begins to celebrate as referee Alex Normandin, top, signals he has scored a goal Saturday night at Memorial Coliseum. Mason Baptista's pass had eluded Quad City Mallards defenseman Alexander Kuqali, middle, to set up the shot that got past goaltender C.J. Motte, right.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Gabriel Desjardins of the Komets skates against Willie Raskob of the Mallards during the second period at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.
Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Komets forward Garrett Thompson battles for position with the Quad City Mallards' Jake Bolton at Memorial Coliseum just before Thompson scored the first of his two goals in the first period Saturday night.
Saturday, February 17, 2018 11:40 pm
K's solve Mallards, Motte with 4-1 victory
JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette
When the Komets had last met the Quad City Mallards, opposing goaltender C.J. Motte had put on a show.
Tonight, the Komets got redemption.
Paced by two Garrett Thompson goals, the Komets defeated the Mallards 4-1 in front of 9,033 fans at Memorial Coliseum. A day after taking possession of first place in the Central Division, the Komets maintained their one-point lead over the Toledo Walleye by winning for the 14th time in their last 16 games.
The Komets (35-13-3) are 7-0-1 this season against the Mallards (18-28-4), who came into tonight having won seven of their last nine games.
In the last meeting between Fort Wayne and Quad City, last Sunday at the Coliseum, the Komets put up more shots (63) than any team in the ECHL this season, yet lost 4-3 in an overtime shootout because of Motte’s heroics.
Tonight, Motte had 34 saves.
Fort Wayne’s Garrett Bartus stopped 23 shots Sunday and came back with 26 tonight, improving his record since Dec. 20 to a sterling 9-0-1.
(Video highlights from the game are above.)
"We took care of the defensive zone and when we shut teams out like that, it tires them out," Thompson said. "They’ve got to take chances. But we especially played better than the other night and that helped out Barts more than anything."
Thompson opened the scoring 4:14 into the first period by slapping the puck into the bottom of the net, after Mason Baptista sent a no-look pass through the goal crease.
Thompson secured his seventh multi-goal game of the season – that’s the most of the team, one more than Gabriel Desjardins – when Thompson netted a short-handed goal for a 2-0 lead with a blistering shot from the left circle at 17:24.
The Komets’ lead grew to 3-0 when Justin Hodgman netted a 25-foot shot 13:23 into the second period, extending his point-scoring streak to six games, during which he’s totaled three goals and eight points. For the season, Hodgman has four goals and 12 points in 11 games, though he missed 39 games in a row with knee and shoulder injuries.
"Our game plan was very simple," coach Gary Graham said. "It was to converge on the net and to shoot in traffic and crash the net. Hodgie’s goal was a great example of us jamming up the net, finding an extra guy coming in late."
Hodgman was absent from Friday’s 4-3 victory at Wheeling, West Virginia, because of an illness, as were Shawn Szydlowski, the ECHL’s leading scorer with 61 points, Cody Sol and Dennis Kravchenko. Though Szydlowski was back on the ice tonight, Cheek had fallen victim to illness, on the heels of his two-goal effort at Wheeling that extended his point-scoring streak to seven games, during which he’s totaled seven goals and nine points.
After Quad City’s Alex Globke scored 2:49 into the third period, Fort Wayne’s Marco Roy answered by scoring off a redirection at 7:00.
Toledo defeated Kalamazoo 6-3 tonight and can retake first place in the division with a victory Sunday over the Mallards in Moline, Illinois. The Komets are off until Friday’s game at the Coliseum against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, who are coached by Fort Wayne-native Brian Gratz.