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The Journal Gazette

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette The Komets' Cody Sol, left, shoots the puck past the Mavericks' Matt Robertson during the first period Wednesday at the Coliseum.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018 11:30 pm

Houser plays the hero

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Lots to cover off the Komets’ 2-1 overtime victory tonight over the Kansas City Mavericks, that saw Cody Sol force overtime and Justin Hodgman net the winner.

The hero, though, everyone agreed was really netminder Michael Houser. He stopped 38 shots. That included a breakaway, and at least four other shots at the end of odd-man rushes, and helped the Komets hold the Mavericks scoreless on six power plays.

“It’s been awhile since I’ve had to throw one out there like this because we’re so used to scoring four or five goals a night that as long as I do my job – not that my job is to give up two or three – but if I give up three or less then we’re going to win the game because our offense is so good,” Houser said. “Once in awhile, when the offense isn’t going and we can’t get one by the goalie, I need to make sure that I stand tall.”

Houser said he knows that he'll have to have performances like this in the playoffs, even if the Komets have a terrific offense on paper.

-- The Komets began the night playing one man short of a full lineup and then lost Marco Roy to an injury off a shot block. I don’t have much of an update on Roy, other than coach Gary Graham saying he hopes Justin MacDonald can play Friday at Cincinnati. Why did the Komets release Marcus Basara and still play short-handed? They weighed active roster vs. injured reserve numbers and wanted to get Sol, a defenseman, back in the lineup.

“We all want to be playing great hockey heading into the playoffs,” Graham said. “Frankly, it’s been difficult with how many guys are extremely banged up and playing through things. I’m not going to get into it and say what’s going on, but it’s significant and not your normal stuff. Guys are in the lineup and playing 25 minutes who don’t even practice anymore. It’s tough right now.”

-- There were some bad penalties out there by the Komets and that’s not helping matters. They really need to limit those. That said, they got some traffic in front of the net and that was good to see; a Jamie Schaafsma screen helped set up Sol’s tying goal.

-- Hodgman said he had spotted a gap in the Kansas City defense that had been there much of the night and he bolted through it. That’s particularly interesting because of something Graham said the Mavericks do as well as any team in the ECHL: Throw a wall up in front of their net, akin to a wall you would use in soccer to thwart a free kick, which they use to block shots. That Mavericks wall led to those aforementioned odd-man rushes.

-- Former Komets goalie Kevin St. Pierre was here tonight. He co-owns the bus company that drives the Mavericks and Allen Americans, which is also why you periodically see Frenchy suiting up as an emergency backup goalie for those teams or for Wichita, where he lives.

-- If you’re going to the Komets’ game Friday at Cincinnati, you may want to build in some extra time to deal with Cincinnati Reds traffic.