Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Komets' Louick Marcotte races towards the puck during the second period of the game against Allen Americans at the Memorial Coliseum on Sunday.
Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Komets' Gabriel Desjardins, left, and Americans' Mike Gunn fight for the puck during the second period of the game against Allen Americans at the Memorial Coliseum on Sunday.
Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Komets' Gabriel Desjardins, right, and Americans' David Makowski struggle to get the puck during the first period of the game against Allen Americans at the Memorial Coliseum on Sunday.
Sunday, January 21, 2018 7:50 pm
Komets complete sweep of Americans
JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette
The two-game battle at Memorial Coliseum between the ECHL’s top two scorers saw the Allen Americans’ Casey Pierro-Zabotel emerge with two goals and three points, slightly better than the one goal and two points of the Komets’ Shawn Szydlowski.
That gives Pierro-Zabotel 47 points, one more than Szydlowski, who has played eight fewer games.
But it’s doubtful anyone in Fort Wayne on Sunday cares about the individual scoring race, not after the Komets won 4-1 to complete a sweep of the first two meetings between the teams since Fort Wayne’s 5-0 victory Oct. 28, 2016.
The Komets (25-12-2), who are within a point of the Toledo Walleye for the Central Division lead, have won four straight games heading into Tuesday night’s game against the Indy Fuel in Indianapolis.
Fort Wayne goaltender Garrett Bartus was both fiery and formidable, getting into shoving matches with a couple of Allen players and turning away 17 shots in front of 7,296 fans.
The Komets defeated the Americans 5-3 at the Coliseum on Saturday night when they scored four straight goals in the third period to recover from a one-goal deficit in front of a sellout crowd of 10,479.
Though he wasn’t in the lineup Sunday, forward Trevor Cheek’s dizzying week continued with an afternoon return to Fort Wayne. Cheek had gone from Tucson of the higher-level American Hockey League to Fort Wayne on Jan. 15, was called back to Tucson on Friday because of a rash of injuries but didn’t get into the lineup. Cheek has two goals and seven points in 16 games this season with the Roadrunners, but he hasn’t played for the Komets since last season.
The Komets tallied 24 of the game’s first 34 shots on goal, including a Louick Marcotte blast at the end of a 3-on-1 rush that was turned away by Allen goalie Jeremy Brodeur, the son of legendary former NHL goalie Martin Brodeur. On the ensuing rush, Bartus made a couple of acrobatic saves, then leapt to his feet to shove Allen’s Olivier Archambault, who had been in the middle of a scrum for the puck 9:24 into the first period.
Brodeur produced another great stop at 14:05 by kicking away a Jamie Schaafsma redirection, and at 19:54 he kicked out a tricky Artur Tyanulin shot.
Schaafsma, the former Allen captain, opened the scoring 7:17 into the second period with a one-timer in front of the net, after Gabriel Desjardins had sent him a nifty pass from the right corner.
But it took the Americans (20-16-5) only 49 seconds to answer with Pierro-Zabotel fighting his way through a mess of players to put a rebound into an open net.
Tyanulin, the Komets’ lone all-star, who had been scoreless in his last five games, ended his slump by hustling to the far post to chip in the rebound of a Bobby Shea shot for a 2-1 Komets lead at 12:37.
Dennis Kravchenko gave Fort Wayne some breathing room with a 40-foot shot for a 3-1 lead 10:17 into the third period, as Shea and Desjardins picked up their second assists of the game, and Marcotte made it 4-1 with a shot from the slot.
Brodeur finished with 32 saves as Allen lost its fourth straight game.
Notes: Fort Wayne’s Mason Baptista was hit in the face with a puck during the second period. He returned in the third wearing a cage. … After Saturday’s game, the Komets replaced Garrett Thompson and Zac Larraza in the lineup with Marcotte and Logan Nelson.