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The Journal Gazette

  • Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
    Komets goalie Pat Nagle nabs the puck with the tip of his glove during the second period of the game against Tulsa on Friday at Memorial Coliseum.

  • Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
    Komets forward Brett Perlini, left, flips the puck at Tulsa goalie P.J. Musico during the first period Friday night.

  • Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
    Travis Ewanyk, left, and Brett Perlini, center, celebrate with Garrett Thompson after Thompson scored a goal in the first period of the Komets' game against Tulsa on Friday at Memorial Coliseum.

  • Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
    Komets forward Brett Perlini skates to the puck to move it out of the Komets’ zone during the second period against Tulsa on Friday at Memorial Coliseum.
March 18, 2017 12:16 AM

Catching Toledo possible, more K's discussion

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Just a couple weeks ago, a broadcaster from another ECHL team was talking about how Toledo had pretty much wrapped up the division. I pointed out there was a long way to go. Certainly, it’s unlikely Fort Wayne could catch the Walleye, but they have 12 games to make up 10 points and that’s far from out of the question.

Talking to the Komets on Friday after their 3-0 victory over the suddenly not-so-good Tulsa Oilers, they are just as focused on what’s going on behind them. Quad City remains nine points back and Kalamazoo is 13 back.

“There’s still three games (for us) against Quad City,” Komets coach Gary Graham said. “I guarantee, if you get in that Quad City lockerroom, that they’re coming after us for home-ice (advantage) in that first round. We’ve got to understand there’s a pecking order here. We’re chasing our goals and they’re chasing us. We’ve just got to focus on what we do.”

What the Komets have done lately is win a lot. They have taken seven of their last eight games and 15 of their last 21. They have played one fewer game than Toledo, too.

– With the 30-save shutout of Tulsa, which has lost 17 of its last 20 games, Pat Nagle’s season statistics read as follows: 10-1-1 record, 2.09 goals-against average, .923 save percentage, two solo shutouts and one shutout shared with Eric Hartzell.

“Getting the early lead was huge for us,” Nagle said. “We know we can play from behind, obviously, but it was nice to see what we could do with a lead. We had some ups and downs – it was kind of a goofy game with some of the bounces and power plays and penalty kills – but our PK was great and we pressured them a lot. A lot of sticks in lanes, blocked shots, and it was a fun game to be a part of.”

– Graham hasn’t committed to anything, and Nagle said he expects competition down the stretch to determine things, but the sound of it is the Komets want to get Nagle ready to be the No. 1 goalie in the playoffs. There’s no surprise there. But Graham implied he doesn’t want to be shuffling goalies in and out of the lineup in the postseason, not if he can ride one for long stretches. Twelve games, though, is plenty of time for Garrett Bartus to show he should be the guy when Game 1 of the first round arrives.

– Rave reviews for a line tonight by Graham, who said: “(Garrett Thompson) is a guy that has really been playing a lot better hockey lately. I really like that line with him, (Brett) Perlini and (Travis) Ewanyk. They’ve got some size and they’re working the walls hard, protecting the puck and playing a heavy game around the net. Whenever they’re out there, it seems like they’re getting the puck in the (offensive) zone and setting up some zone time for themselves.”