Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette The Komets' Garrett Thompson celebrates Shawn Szydlowski's first-period goal Saturday. Greenville goalie Greg Dodds was hurt on the play.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Greg Dodds of the Swamp Rabbits misses a block on a shot made by Shawn Szydlowski of the Komets during the first period at Memorial Coliseum Saturday night.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Marco Roy of the Komets forces a turnover against the Swamp Rabbits during the first period at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Komets fans celebrate after their first goal during the first period at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Michael Houser of the Komets stops the Swamp Rabbits from attacking the goal during the first period at Memorial Coliseum Saturday night.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Komets trap Brenden Kotyk of the Swamp Rabbits to force a turnover during the first period at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Curtis Leonard of the Komets intercepts Jack Nevins of the Swamp Rabbits before he can take a shot during the first period at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.
Sunday, February 25, 2018 1:00 am
Komets 3 Greenville 2
Komets rally for overtime victory
Tyanulin's 2nd goal proves to be winner
JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette
Artur Tyanulin looked around the Komets' locker room Saturday night and said, to no one in particular, “thanks boys.”
He was acknowledging the terrific penalty kill they had in the waning minutes of the third period of a tie game, necessary because Tyanulin had checked Greenville's Sean Flanagan from behind and received a boarding penalty.
“I didn't want to do that, but it happens in a game like that,” Tyanulin said. “I was (emotionally) high and fired up, but I didn't want to do that and I felt bad.”
Ultimately, Tyanulin's teammates should have been thanking him. His goal in 4-on-4 overtime gave the Komets a 3-2 victory that kept them atop the Central Division.
After teammate Shawn Szydlowski patiently circled the defensive zone, awaiting a line change, he sent the puck to Tyanulin, who went the length of the ice. He faked his way past Greenville's Joe Basaraba, evaded Evan Jasper and skirted past Matt Prapavessis, then sent a backhand shot into the top of the net.
“There's not a lot of players who can do that,” Tyanulin said of the way Szydlowski, the ECHL's leading scorer, circled defenders near the Fort Wayne net to buy time for the decisive rush. “Only a couple of guys in the league are even capable of that.
“We understand each other. Szyd, I've learned from him by watching him in practice and working with him. I've tried to base a lot of things off of him.”
Tyanulin, a rookie prospect of the NHL's Arizona Coyotes, and Fort Wayne's only ECHL All-Star Game representative, has 16 goals and 33 points in 30 games with the Komets. That included the goal Saturday that tied it at 2 – a second-period tip-in after Garrett Thompson sent a wobbly pass through two Greenville players. And it may have been Tyanulin's most physical game.
“I'm so excited for a guy like Artie to have a good game (Saturday) because he's been putting so much pressure on himself since he's been back from (Tucson of) the American Hockey League. He was challenged (by Greenville) and he responded,” Komets coach Gary Graham said.
Michael Houser stopped 22 of 24 shots for the Komets (37-13-3), who have won 16 of their last 18 games. Ty Rimmer stopped 31 of 33 in relief for the Swamp Rabbits (20-30-5), who have lost 16 of 18.
In the Komets' 4-1 victory Friday, Rimmer stopped 38 shots. He was to have Saturday off before an unusual sequence led to Fort Wayne's first goal. During a power play, Marco Roy fired a 45-foot shot that clearly injured Greenville goalie Greg Dodds, but referee Sean Fernandez allowed play to continue long enough for Roy to tip the puck to Szydlowski for a shot from the left circle and a 1-0 lead 7:04 into the first period.
Dodds, who had five saves, then came out, and his teammates rallied quickly for a 2-1 lead on power-play goals from Garret Clemment and Flanagan.
Greenville scored on 2 of 5 power plays. Fort Wayne, wearing pink jerseys that were auctioned off to benefit the Vera Bradley Foundation's fight against breast cancer, was 1 for 3.
“We really took care of the puck and really bought into playing forecheck, get-to-the-body type of hockey and making them have to defend,” Graham said.