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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, January 04, 2017 7:45 pm

Musico's debut: 6-2 victory for Komets

Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette

P.J. Musico’s debut with the Komets was a resounding success. The goaltender, acquired last week from Greenville for cash, stopped 29 of 31 shots in a 6-2 victory tonight over the Quad City Mallards in Moline, Illinois.

Musico, who played for the Mallards last season, helped the Komets win for the sixth time in the last eight games despite playing without their leading scorer, Shawn Szydlowski, who was out with an illness hours after being selected as the ECHL’s Player of the Month. Szydlowski had 11 goals and 28 points in 14 December games.

Kyle Thomas and Mike Embach had two goals apiece for the Komets (19-9-3), who heeded coach Gary Graham’s call for fewer penalties by getting eight minutes from referee Sean Fernandez. The Komets took only one penalty in the final 35:25, a tripping call on captain Jamie Schaafsma, and improved to 5-1-0 against the Mallards (18-11-2).

Thomas extended his point-scoring streak to nine games, during which he’s totaled eight goals and 16 points. Embach is on a six-game streak, accruing six goals and 10 points.

The Komets, who also got goals from Mason Baptista and Brady Vail, scored on 1 of 3 power plays. The Mallards were 0 for 4, getting goals from Michael Parks to open the scoring and Brady Brassart to cut the Fort Wayne lead to 3-2 at 1:11 of the second period.

Thomas’ second goal, at 15:13, began the run of three unanswered goals. Mallards goalie Adam Vay stopped 17 of 21 shots through two periods and Tanner Milliron stopped 5 of 7 in the third.

Forward Mike Cazzola, who assisted on a goal, was selected ECHL Rookie of the Month after totaling nine goals and 19 points in 14 games.

The Komets play host to the Mallards at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, when they will retire the No. 19 of Terry McDougall.

Notes: Forward Taylor Crunk returned after missing 16 games with an ankle injury. … The Komets waived Stephon Thorne, who had 14 penalty minutes in four games this season. … Thanks to a league-best winning percentage, Toledo’s Dan Watson will coach the ECHL All-Stars, and be assisted by Florida’s Brad Ralph, in the All-Star Game Jan. 18 against the host Adirondack Thunder. Szydlowski will be the Komets’ lone representative.

jcohn@jg.net