Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette Komets forward Brett Perlini, left, flips the puck at Tulsa goalie P.J. Musico during the first period Friday night.
Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette Komets forward Brett Perlini skates to the puck to move it out of the Komets’ zone during the second period against Tulsa on Friday at Memorial Coliseum.
Saturday, March 18, 2017 3:28 am
Shutout keeps K's rolling
Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette
Several moments from the Komets’ 3-0 victory Friday night over the Tulsa Oilers were simply perfection, such as Mike Embach’s 30-foot shot that sailed into the top of the net and Pat Nagle’s glove of a Kale Kessy shot that highlighted a 30-save shutout.
Perhaps the best moment came in the first period when captain Jamie Schaafsma sent a pass from the left corner to Garrett Thompson, who was camped out in front of the net and able to smoothly redirect the puck past goalie P.J. Musico for a power-play goal.
"He made a really good play by putting his stick there and giving me something to aim for, and he put it on the other side of Musico’s pads. It was a pretty easy play, actually, and it was nice of (Thompson) to get to the right spot and be able to finish," said Schaafsma, who scored in the third period by stealing the puck in the right circle and firing a 25-foot shot for a 3-0 lead.
Schaafsma is on an eight-game point-scoring streak, during which he’s totaled six goals and 13 points for the Komets (37-16-7), who have won seven of their last eight games, 15 of their last 21 and are 10 points back of division-rival Toledo for the ECHL lead. Fort Wayne has 12 games left, one more than the Walleye.
"(Thompson) is a guy that has really been playing a lot better hockey lately," Komets coach Gary Graham said. "I really like that line with him, (Brett) Perlini and (Travis) Ewanyk. They’ve got some size and they’re working the walls hard, protecting the puck and playing a heavy game around the net. Whenever they’re out there, it seems like they’re getting the puck in the (offensive) zone and setting up some zone time for themselves. Garrett’s the type of guy where, this year his game has been spotty at times, but lately he’s really elevated it to where you’re now seeing a guy who has (106) games in the (higher-level) American Hockey League."
Donning green, orange and white jerseys for St. Patrick’s Day – auctioned and raffled off to benefit Habitat for Humanity – the Komets fired 30 shots on Musico, who played five games this season with Fort Wayne. Nagle has a 10-1-1 record with a 2.09 goals-against average, a .923 save percentage, two solo shutouts and one shutout, shared with Eric Hartzell.
"Getting the early lead was huge for us," Nagle said. "We know we can play from behind, obviously, but it was nice to see what we could do with a lead. We had some ups and downs – it was kind of a goofy game with some of the bounces and power plays and penalty kills – but our PK was great and we pressured them a lot. A lot of sticks in lanes, blocked shots, and it was a fun game to be a part of."
Komets general manager David Franke confirmed that defenseman Gabriel Beaupre won’t return to the team. Beaupre, who suffered a concussion Nov. 13, was cleared to resume physical activities, Franke said, but it’s unclear if he will continue his career.
"The important thing here is he’s healthy," Franke said.