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The Journal Gazette

Friday, March 30, 2018 10:50 pm

K's fall in OT to Cyclones

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Shawn O’Donnell fought off a hook from behind by Jason Binkley and slid the puck inside the right goalpost at U.S. Bank Arena tonight, as the Cincinnati Cyclones defeated the visiting Komets 3-2 in overtime.

The Komets are 5-5 in games decided in 3-on-3 overtimes.

They remain mathematically capable of winning the Central Division championship, seven points back of the Toledo Walleye with four games left in the regular season, beginning Saturday night at Indianapolis.

Before the game, the Komets signed rookie defenseman Sean Campbell, 24, who had two goals and 17 points in 32 games this season with St. Norbert College, helping them to the Division III National Championship. And Justin MacDonald returned to the Fort Wayne lineup from his concussion.

To make room, the Komets released Louick Marcotte, who had 12 goals and 26 points in 37 games since being acquired from the Wichita for Ralph Cuddemi, who is the Thunder’s leading scorer.

Cincinnati’s Justin Vaive opened the scoring 19:31 into the first period by redirecting a shot from Anthony Florentino past goaltender Michael Houser, who the Komets believe was interfered with on the play by Vaive.

Houser didn’t come out for the first 6:14 of the second period – rookie Cam Lanigan stopped all six shots he faced in that time – but Houser returned and totaled 16 saves on 19 shots.

Fort Wayne’s Binkley scored on a one-timer from the right circle 9:43 into the second period, after Garrett Thompson set him up with a pass from behind the net. But the Cyclones’ Daniel Muzito-Bagenda made it 2-1 at 17:31 by getting to his own rebound and sending a shot off the skate of Justin Hodgman and into the net.

Cyclones goalie Hayden Stewart, a rookie playing his first game out of Cornell University, stopped 26 of 28 shots. But Daniel Maggio bested him with the tying goal at 6:55 of the third period, when he redirected a centering pass from Hodgman.

The Komets outshot the Cyclones 12-2 in the third period to force their sixth overtime game in their last eight, of which they’ve won three.

Fort Wayne (44-18-6) and Cincinnati (38-27-3), who are separated by 15 points in the Central Division, are likely first-round playoff opponents.

jcohn@jg.net