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The Journal Gazette

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Komets Jason Blinkley.

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Travis Ewanyk, of the Komets, keeps his eye on the puck as he works his way around the defense of Wheeling's Danny Fick in the first period of Sunday's game at the Memorial Coliseum.

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Trevor Cheek, of the Komets, keeps his eye on the puck as he leaves Wheeling's Mike Krieg behind him in the first period of Sunday's game at the Memorial Coliseum.

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Komets’ Travis Ewanyk takes a shot on goal around the defense of Wheeling’s Mike Krieg in the first period of Sunday’s game at the Memorial Coliseum.

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Komets’ Jason Blinkley races to get to the puck before Wheeling’s Adam Krause in the first period of Sunday’s game at the Memorial Coliseum.

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Brett Perlini, of the Komets, keeps his eye on the puck as he brings it around the ice in the first period of Sunday's game at the Memorial Coliseum against Wheeling.

Sunday, March 05, 2017 6:49 pm

Komets are impressive, yet changes could come

Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette

A 2-1 victory over the Wheeling Nailers today – Pat Nagle had 29 saves and Mike Cazzola netted the winning goal from the right circle – improved an impressive run lately for the Komets. 

Keeping track of the superlatives is dizzying, but let's give it a go.

– The Komets finished the season series against Wheeling 4-1-0. Including Cazzola's winning goal, the Komets were 1 for 4 on power plays today and 8 for 18 in the season series. The teams cannot meet again unless it's in the Kelly Cup Finals. 

– Despite missing 37 games with a high ankle sprain, check out Nagle's numbers: 8-0-3 with a 2.29 goals-against average, a .916 save percentage, one shutout and one shared shutout. And you can argue that Garrett Bartus has been even better. “I thought we did a great job and really prevented them from being on the rush. That’s where they can really hurt you. They have a really skilled team. They’re quick. If they find themselves on those 2-on-1 rushes or those 3-on-2, they can hurt you, but we really limited those tonight,” Nagle said.

– In their last 18 games, the Komets have gone 13-2-3 and taken 29 of a possible 36 points.

– Despite being eight points back of Toledo for the Central Division and ECHL leads, the Komets have the ECHL’s top home record, based on winning percentage, at 23-5-1.

– Cazzola, who had a goal and an assist tonight, has 21 goals and 61 points. He's second in scoring among ECHL rookies. Toledo's Tyson Spink has 66 points.

– While teams that score first have won 73.5 percent of the ECHL’s games this season, the Komets are 11-8-5 in games in which they’ve given up the first goal.

– There have been 33 games they’ve trailed or been tied in heading into the third period, and the Komets have won 12 of them and at least gotten a point forcing overtime in seven others.

– You may have noticed that another player, Dan Milan, went out with an injury tonight. Coach Gary Graham wouldn't give any details on it. But the Komets were already without: Kyle Thomas, who is with Cleveland of the higher-level American Hockey League, and Bobby Shea, who is with Rochester, captain Jamie Schaafsma, who has a finger injury and Gabriel Beaupre, who has with a concussion. Graham said a couple of those guys should be back "soon."

– With players returning, and the ECHL's trade deadline coming Thursday, expect some changes to the roster despite how well the team has been playing. “Right now, what it comes down to is we want to win. The compete level is there," Graham said. “Keeping jobs is going to be tough. That’s just the reality of it. And also, guys are aware that the trade deadline is (Thursday) too, and I need to meet with management and see if we’re going to approach anything. But I like the team right now.”

– The Komets will get a couple days off, as is customary when they are coming off a victory on a Sunday, and they play twice at Indianapolis on Friday and Saturday. Graham said not to overlook the difficulty of those games, even if Indy is in the cellar. The Fuel has been bringing in young, hungry players to vet them for next season.