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The Journal Gazette

  • The Komets' Gabriel Desjardins shoots from his knee against Quad City's Andrew Panzarella during Game 3 of their first-round playoff series Wednesday night at the iWireless Center in Moline, Ill. (Courtesy John Schultz | The Quad-City Times)

Thursday, April 20, 2017 1:00 am

Komets 4, Quad City 3

K's power way to 3-0 lead

Utilize man-advantage to score 22 seconds into OT

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

ECHL playoffs

Komets vs. Quad City Mallards

Central Division semifinals

Best of 7

Komets lead 3-0

Game 1: Komets 4, Quad City 3

Game 2: Komets 3, Quad City 1

Game 3: Komets 4, Quad City 3 (OT)

Game 4: 8 p.m. Friday at Quad City

Game 5: 8 p.m. Saturday at Quad City*

Game 6: 7:30 p.m. Monday at Memorial Coliseum*

Game 7: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Coliseum*

*-If necessary

MOLINE, Ill. – The Komets had an entire intermission to decide what to do with the power play that would result in their game-winning goal and Kyle Thomas netted it for a 4-3 overtime victory Wednesday and a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-7 series with the Quad City Mallards.

Coach Gary Graham, though, wasn't about to take credit for drawing up the play that ended it just 22 seconds into extra time on what was already a bizarre man-advantage at the iWireless Center.

“Actually, Jamie Schaafsma went in (the locker room). He made sure everybody was on the same page,” Graham said. “(The Mallards) have a couple of different (defensive) shapes they like to get into, so you've got to give credit to the guys like Jamie going in there and making sure the communication was good.”

Schaafsma, the captain and first-year player/assistant coach, didn't want the accolades either.

“We did draw up a play but what happened wasn't exactly what we drew up. It worked out, but we ended up in different positions than we were supposed to,” Schaafsma said. “Grammer didn't know what we were doing so, definitely to him, I look like a genius.”

Maybe all it took was a good shot and Thomas made it from 30 feet out, then skated toward the bench and pumped his fists in the air in front of 1,969 deflated fans, shaking their heads over the rare penalty that had set up the decisive power play – Grant Arnold had been sent to the penalty box for failing to leave the ice after his helmet came off.

“It was just a well-executed play. (Ryan) Lowney made a nice play down low to (Mike) Cazzola and he found me open in the slot. I just tried to beat the goalie to that post,” said Thomas, who didn't score in the series' first two games at Memorial Coliseum. “Obviously, you don't want to go any amount of time without scoring goals. It's not something you want to think about too much, but once you get that first one, especially in the playoffs, it feels better and lets you play your game a little looser.”

Game 4 will be at the iWireless Center at 8 p.m. Friday. The winner of this series will face either top-seeded Toledo or Kalamazoo, which rode a Josh Pitt hat trick Wednesday to an 8-5 victory that tied that series at 2.

After totaling only 31 shots on goal in the first two games, the Mallards outshot the Komets 36-35 in Game 3.

The Komets tied it at 1 at 9:54 of the first period when Mason Baptista, a healthy scratch in the first two games, sent a shot from the right corner that caromed off Cazzola's skate and in. Another redirection, this by Gabriel Desjardins, put the Komets up 2-1. But Brady Brassart's pass across the slot, while he was on his knees, set up Quad City's Sam Warning for the tying goal 14:20 into the second period.

Controversy struck at 17:16 when Fort Wayne's Shawn Szydlowski skated in on a 2-on-1 rush and sent the puck off goaltender C.J. Motte. The puck then caromed off multiple players and went in, and a long discussion between the referees resulted in a Fort Wayne goal credited to Szydlowski. Thomas says he hit it after Szydlowski's shot but the off-ice officials said Quad City's Guillaume Gelinas was the last player the puck touched.

Quad City's Alex Petan scored 12:44 into the third, after a Josh MacDonald shot caromed off the post and came to his stick in the left circle.