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The Journal Gazette

  • Lauren Lyssy | Special to The Journal Gazette A scrum between the Komets and the Allen Americans in Game 4 at Allen Event Center.

  • Lauren Lyssy | Special to The Journal Gazette Komets defenseman Cody Sol celebrates after his goal at Allen Event Center on Saturday.

  • Lauren Lyssy | The Journal Gazette Jamie Schaafsma of the Komets and Casey Pierro-Zabotel of the Allen Americans prepare for the opening faceoff before Game 4.

  • Lauren Lyssy | Special to The Journal Gazette Allen goaltender Riley Gill makes a first-period stop on Kyle Thomas of the Komets.

Saturday, May 21, 2016 10:10 pm

K's squander huge lead, lose in OT

Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette

ALLEN, Texas – The Komets came to Texas knowing they had to win 2 of 3 games to force the series back to Memorial Coliseum.

The goal remains the same. But this will be hard to swallow.

The Komets squandered a three-goal lead in the third period and lost 6-5 in overtime on a shot from the left circle by J.P. LaFontaine. The goal came at 3:46 in front of 5,602 fans at the Allen Event Center, where the teams play again Sunday. The Americans lead the Western Conference finals 3-1.

It was a back-and-forth game, one in which the Komets built a 5-2 lead on two Garrett Thompson goals and three Alex Belzile assists, but also one in which the Americans fought back led by two David Makowski goals and four Chad Costello assists.

There was also plenty of physical play – Allen scored on 3 of 6 power plays and Fort Wayne was 1 for 6 – and a particularly dirty hit by the Americans.

Riley Gill was back in net for the Americans, after he took himself during Game 2 with a lower-body injury, but he didn’t make it through two periods tonight. Jake Hildebrand, who stopped 35 shots in the Komets’ 2-1 victory on Thursday, replaced him.

Gill had the first great save of the game, kicking away a Trevor Cheek shot from 20 feet out to set off a 2-on-1 rush in the other direction, but Allen’s Dyson Stevenson missed the net. The Komets then broke down the other direction and Cody Sol hit the post.

The Americans opened the scoring after the ensuing faceoff, with league MVP Costello shooting the puck from the left boards, the puck caroming off the far post and coming to rest on the goal line, where David Makowski skated behind goalie Pat Nagle to scoop it in at 6:54.

After Allen had eight of the first 11 shots, the Komets thought they had it tied when Kyle Thomas tucked the puck inside the right post and the goal light went on. But the referees, Peter MacDougall and Nic Leduc, determined that defenseman Matt Register stopped the puck from going all the way over the goal line and waved it off at 14:15.

The Komets started getting traffic in front of the net late in the period and it paid off with a Sol goal from 40 feet out to tie it at 1, after the puck was tipped to him by Mike Embach, who scored both Fort Wayne goals in Game 3.

Embach finished off a 2-on-1 to put Fort Wayne up 2-1 just 45 seconds into the second period. During a Fort Wayne power play at 3:15, Thompson skated the length of the ice and wristed the puck low on Gill for a 3-1 lead, shortly before Fort Wayne’s Gabriel Beaupre had to be helped off the ice because of a hit from behind by Vincent Arseneau. No penalty was called on the play and, after the ensuing faceoff, Sol fought Arseneau. Beaupre returned to the bench for a short time later in the period, then left again and could be seen smashing his stick in the tunnel.

(Video of the hit is above.)

After Allen’s Gary Steffes scored by slipping a backhand underneath Nagle at 7:46, the Komets answered with goals by Thompson from 15 feet and Shawn Szydlowski at the end of a 2-on-1 rush for a 5-2 lead 11:17 into the second period.

Gill was then pulled by coach Steve Martinson with 14 saves on 19 shots. And things totally shifted into Allen’s favor in the third period, when it got three consecutive goals. Tristan King, a former Fort Wayne player, scored on a shot from 20 feet at 1:16. Gregor Hanson netted a power-play goal on a shot from the right circle at 4:49. And Makowski scored at 10:33.

The Komets got some better offensive pressure late in the period and Hildebrand stopped a Trevor Cheek backhand from 10 feet at 17:37.

In regulation time, the Komets outshot Allen 35-28. Allen had two of three shots in overtime.

Allen’s Eric Roy was stopped by Nagle on a shot from point-blank range 37 seconds into overtime. Fort Wayne’s Mason Geertsen dove to block a Costello shot toward an empty net at 3:00 to keep playing going.

Notes: The Komets used forward David Friedmann, who had played only in Game 3 of the second round at Utah. He replaced Brett Perlini, who had three goals and nine points in 12 games. Also out were Justin Hamonic, Paul Crowder and Taylor Crunk. … The Americans inserted defenseman Aaron Gens, a longtime rival of the Komets, along with left wing Justin Courtnall, Register and King. They took out Kyle Neuber, Rick Pinkston, Thomas Carr and Spencer Asuchak. … Gill reentered the game for a short spell in the third to, presumably, given Allen a rest during a power play.