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The Journal Gazette

  • Tony Bailey Photography Cincinnati Cyclones forward Winston Day Chief, middle, collides with Mason Baptista of the Komets at U.S. Bank Arena on Thursday night, as Fort Wayne's Artur Tyanulin, right, searches for the puck. 

  • Tony Bailey Photography Komets forward Marco Roy, middle, who returned to the lineup after a seven-game absence with an injury, searches for the puck at U.S. Bank Arena as teammate Bobby Shea, right, looks on Thursday night. 

  • Tony Bailey Photography The Komets celebrate a second-period goal at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. 

  • Tony Bailey Photography Defenseman Ryan Lowney moves the puck at U.S. Bank Arena on Thursday night in Cincinnati.

  • Tony Bailey Photography Komets captain Jamie Schaafsma skates the puck up the U.S. Bank Arena ice as Cincinnati Cyclones goaltender Jonas Johansson, middle, gets into position and defenseman Chris Leone stands in his way Thursday. 

  • Tony Bailey Photography Komets forward Dennis Kravchenko moves the puck up the ice at U.S. Bank Arena on Thursday night in Cincinnati. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018 10:50 pm

Cyclones beat Komets in OT

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

CINCINNATI – Cincinnati's Arvin Atwal scored from 35 feet out to cement a 7-6 overtime victory over the Komets tonight in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series at U.S. Bank Arena.

The Komets' Shawn Szydlowski forced overtime with a goal from the blue line with 37 second left in regulation.

The Komets still have a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series, but the Cyclones have new life heading into Game 4 here at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Game 5 will be here, too, at 3 p.m. Sunday.

The Komets’ performance was marked by rookie Phelix Martineau’s two goals and an assist, and the return of two playmaking forwards. 

After opening the series with a pair of victories at Memorial Coliseum – 4-3 in double overtime on a Jamie Schaafsma goal and 3-1 led by 33 Michael Houser saves – the Komets’ list of injured players got a little shorter with the returns of all-star Artur Tyanulin and Marco Roy. Tyanulin, a rookie, had missed the previous 12 games after totaling 18 goals and 42 points in 39 regular-season games. Roy had missed the previous seven games, on the heels of 17 goals and 48 points in 45 regular-season games.

Special teams have been a huge part of the series – power plays accounted for five of the 11 goals in the first two games – and that continued tonight. Fort Wayne scored on 2 of 3 power plays. Cincinnati was 1 for 3.

Fort Wayne outshot the Cyclones 51-31.

Fort Wayne’s Bobby Shea opened the scoring during a 4-on-3 power play 11:20 into the first period with a one-timer from the left circle after Szydlowski fed him with a cross-ice pass. Cincinnati answered with a power-play goal of its own at 19:54, when Justin Vaive crashed the net and smacked a Shawn O’Donnell shot into the net, just after Vaive had been thwarted on a breakaway by Houser.

It didn’t take long for the Komets to reestablish their lead; Martineau redirected Cody Sol’s shot from the blue line 1:33 into the second period, after Gabriel Desjardins had blindly sent a pass to the point from behind the Cincinnati net.

A rebound given up by Houser was smacked just inside the left goalpost by Cincinnati’s Daniel Muzito-Bagenda 7:17 into the second period, tying it at 2, but Martineau answered at 13:44 by accepting a pass from Desjardins off the left boards and tucking it underneath the goalie, Jonas Johansson.

Another power play resulted in another power-play goal for the Komets, who took a 4-2 lead when Schaafsma redirected a Martineau shot at 18:16. But as they had in the first period, the Komets gave up a goal in the waning seconds of the second, as Alex Kile scored from 15 feet at 19:58.

In the third period, Cincinnati’s Jesse Schultz tied it at 4 by skating down the left wing and tucking the puck underneath Houser 13 seconds in, then Vaive made it 5-4 by scoring off a rebound at 4:20

With Johansson way too far out of the crease, Desjardins got around Eric Diodati to snatch the puck, then steered around the goalie to shoot into a wide-open net and tie it at 5 at 10:21.

But a turnover by the Komets’ Shea in his own zone resulted in a shot from 25-feet out by O’Donnell for a 6-5 Cyclones lead at 13:17.

Szydlowski, the ECHL’s leading scorer and MVP during the regular season, picked an opportune time for his first goal of the postseason. With 37 seconds on the clock, and Houser pulled for an extra attacker, he netted a shot from the blue line to tie it at 6.

Notes: The Komets played without Curtis Leonard, Justin Hodgman, Ryan Culkin and Anthony Petruzzelli, while Trevor Cheek and Zac Larrazza remained with Tucson of the higher-level American Hockey League. … The referees were Andy Howard and Don Jablonski.

jcohn@jg.net