Lauren Lyssy | Special to The Journal Gazette Komets and Allen Americans players scrum Saturday night in Game 4 at the Allen Event Center.
Lauren Lyssy | The Journal Gazette Jamie Schaafsma of the Komets and Casey Pierro-Zabotel of the Allen Americans prepare for the opening faceoff before Game 4.
Lauren Lyssy | Special to The Journal Gazette Komets defenseman Cody Sol celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal Saturday night at the Allen Event Center.
Sunday, May 22, 2016 7:58 am
Komets feel Texas heat
Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette
ALLEN, Texas – The Komets were at the wrong end of an unbelievable comeback Saturday night – the Allen Americans scored four unanswered goals and won Game 4 of the Western Confeernce finals 6-5 on J.P. LaFontaine’s overtime goal – and Fort Wayne had great respect for what their opponents did.
But the Komets’ goal was always to win 2 of 3 game at the Allen Event Center, that can still happen and they believe it will.
"It’s sort of ridiculous what just happened out there … but we’ve got to have a short memory," Komets captain Jamie Schaafsma said. "This team is a special team and when we’ve had our back to the wall, we’ve been a good team. In our minds, it’s important to believe we can do it and not lose focus or dwell on what happened tonight. We won’t let the momentum carry into the next game. We’ve got to come out and play like the season is on the line because it is. "
Allen scored on 3 of 6 power plays, including goals in the third period from Tristan King and Gregor Hanson.
"Winning 2 of 3 on the road is what we came to do," Komets defenseman Jordon Southorn said. "It obviously wasn’t supposed to be in their order, but we’ve got a good group in here. And we’re going to stick together. (The Americans) did something special tonight, coming back in the third period and winning in OT. But why can’t we do something special, too? We’re going to go one game at a time, one period at a time, and it starts tomorrow."
Game 5 will be today at the Allen Event Center, where there was a crowd of 5,602 for Game 4.
The Americans got two David Makowski goals and four assists from Chad Costello. Fort Wayne was led by two Garrett Thompson goals and three Alex Belzile assists.
"When playing 5-on-5, it’s been clear all series that we dominate. I don’t even think it’s been close when it’s 5-on-5," Fort Wayne’s Shawn Szydlowski said. "We beat ourselves and we’ve been pretty good at that. But we’ve got to pull it together.
"Tomorrow could be our last game and I know nobody wants that to happen. Everyone is going to bring their best game and I have no doubt in my mind that we’re going to bring the series back to Fort Wayne."
The Komets are 2-0 in games during these playoffs in which they could be eliminated. Both came in the first round against Cincinnati, when Fort Wayne lost the first two games at Memorial Coliseum and then won 2 of 3 on the road.
Riley Gill was back in net for the Americans, after he took himself during Game 2 with a lower-body injury, but he didn’t make it through two periods.
Jake Hildebrand, who stopped 35 shots in the Komets’ 2-1 victory on Thursday, replaced him and stopped all 17 shots he faced and will start today.
The Americans opened the scoring with league MVP Costello shooting the puck from the left boards, the puck caroming off the far post and coming to rest on the goal line, where Makowski skated behind goalie Pat Nagle to scoop it in at 6:54.
After Allen had eight of the first 11 shots, the Komets thought they had it tied when Kyle Thomas tucked the puck inside the right post and the goal light went on. But the referees determined that defenseman Matt Register stopped the puck from going all the way over the goal line and waved it off at 14:15.
The Komets started getting traffic in front of the net late in the period and it paid off with a Sol goal from 40 feet out to tie it at 1, after the puck was tipped to him by Mike Embach, who scored both Fort Wayne goals in Game 3.
Embach finished off a 2-on-1 to put Fort Wayne up 2-1 just 45 seconds into the second period. During a Fort Wayne power play at 3:15, Thompson skated the length of the ice and wristed the puck low on Gill for a 3-1 lead.
After Allen’s Gary Steffes scored by slipping a backhand underneath Nagle at 7:46, the Komets answered with goals by Thompson from 15 feet and Szydlowski at the end of a 2-on-1 rush for a 5-2 lead 11:17 into the second period.
Gill was then pulled by coach Steve Martinson with 14 saves on 19 shots. And things totally shifted into Allen’s favor in the third period, when it got three consecutive goals.