ALLEN, Texas – Thanks to a 2-1 victory tonight at the Allen Event Center – Mike Embach scored twice, Pat Nagle stopped 27 shots and Cody Corbett had an assist and a disallowed goal in his return to the lineup – this series is different.
The Komets finally got traffic in front of the net. They limited the Allen transition game. Chad Costello was limited to two shots on goal and a minus-1 rating.
I’d written that the Komets needed Mike Embach to step up. He did.
“This was a relief, yeah. I really needed to contribute in a big way tonight. I felt I should have been producing a little bit more with the way I played in the first two games. You could see that we were getting a lot more traffic tonight (in front of their net) and that was important for us,” said Embach, who opened the scoring 4:11 into the first period by getting to a rebound and scoring from 20 feet out.
“It felt great to go out there and get a goal on the first shift and it was because of that great play by Corbett, who had the shot from the blue line. That allowed me to get to the net and send the puck in and get us started in the right way. “
Embach scored again at the end of a 2-on-1 rush 19:18 into the second period.
After Allen’s Gary Steffes scored off a rebound at 11:36 of the third period, Embach had a chance to cement the victory with the goal pulled and 20 seconds left. But Embach missed the net the left circle and then had to watch as the Americans almost tucked the puck underneath Nagle at the other end.
“The puck hopped on me, and I thought, ‘Oh, here we go.’ I went from thinking I’d have a hat trick and we’d have the win and get ready to tie this up on Saturday, and then I’m hustling back to the other end. Thankfully, they didn’t score,” Embach said.
The Komets will play here Saturday and Sunday.
“We’re obviously on him right now about that shot (at the empty net) and he’s not liking it,” Shawn Szydlowski said.
But Szydlowski was quick to praise Embach for the goals he did score.
“He’s been in his own head lately about not being able to score, but he’s a good player and he’s fully capable of doing it,” Szydlowski said. “When he wants to play, he’s one of the best players on the ice and that was the case tonight. He started shooting pucks again and it obviously went into the net.”
I would expect the ECHL’s vice-president of hockey operations, Joe Ernst, to take a hard look at two hits from this game: Allen’s Kyle Neuber’s head shot on Szydlowski and Fort Wayne’s Garrett Meurs’ hit from behind on Vincent Arseneau.
A big factor from this game was the way the Komets turned the other cheek. Four of the five power plays were in Fort Wayne’s favor, though their power play unit didn’t look very good.
As for the Corbett goal that was waved off, it was apparently because Jamie Schaafsma got shoved into the net.
I was skeptical about the insertion of Corbett into the lineup, but it did the trick with his offense. Corbett hadn’t played in the previous 11 games.
“Those first couple of minutes in, you saw, that’s what I am – I’m a shooter,” Corbett said. “I shoot the puck. Emmer did a great job going to the net hard and buried a rebound. That’s his go-to and that’s my go-to. We’ve just got to keep playing our roles.”
About that goal, coach Gary Graham said: “The first goal was exactly what we’d talked about. We were getting pucks to the net and having guys around the net to get to the rebounds. They’ve just been defending so well on the edges and in the corners, taking away time and space from us. We just have to try find a way to get anything we can through, as well as they’re defending, so I thought the first goal was exactly what we needed to get going – especially to get our confidence going. But we’ve got a lot of room to improve.”