Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Garrett Thompson of the Komets scores during the second period against the Cincinnati Cyclones in the ECHL playoffs at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Michael Houser of the Komets stops Cincinnati’s Eric Knodel from scoring during the second period at the Coliseum during the first game of the Kelly Cup playoffs Saturday night.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Cincinnati’s goalie Jonas Johannson stops the Komets shot attempt during the first period in the ECHL playoffs at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Garrett Thompson of the Komets looks for an open teammate during the first period of the Kelly Cup playoffs at the Coliseum Saturday night.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Anthony Petruzzelli of the Komets attempts to create distance as he prepares to attack the Cincinnati goal during the first period in the ECHL playoffs at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Shawn Szydlowski of the Komets scores the Komets first goal during the second period of the Kelly Cup playoffs at the Coliseum Saturday night against Cincinnati’s Jonas Johannson.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Phelix Martineau of the Komets races past Cincinnati defense during the second period of the Kelly Cup playoffs at the Coliseum Saturday night.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Both the Komets and Cincinnati rush the Cincinnati goal in attempt to gain control of the puck during the first period of the Kelly Cup playoffs at the Coliseum Saturday night
Brett Luke | The journal Gazette Icy D. Eagle grips the top of the galss as the Komets attempt to score against Cincinnati during the first period at the Coliseum during the Kelly Cup playoffs Saturday night.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Shawn Szydlowski of the Komets prepares to take a shot at the Cincinnati goal during the second period in the ECHL playoffs at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Kevin McKernan of the Komets changes directions quickly in attempt to intercept Alex Kile of Cincinnati during the second period of the Kelly Cup playoffs at the Coliseum Saturday night.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette The Komets fight for control of the puck against Cincinnati in the ECHL playoffs at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday during the second period.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Justin MacDonald fights for control of the puck against Cincinnati’s Arvin Atwal during the first period of the Kelly Cup playoffs at the Coliseum Saturday night.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Cincinnati’s Hayden Stewart scores against the Komets during the first period in the ECHL playoffs at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday.
Saturday, April 14, 2018 11:30 pm
Captain completes comeback, double OT victory for K's
JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette
Two things were very predictable heading into this playoff series between the Komets and Cincinnati Cyclones: Special teams would play a huge part and overtime games were going to happen.
We’re only one game into the best-of-7 Central Division semifinals and you can check off both boxes.
Captain Jamie Schaafsma scored off a rebound of a Gabriel Desjardins shot, cementing a 4-3 double overtime victory for the Komets in a game that saw three power-play goals. The Cyclones scored on 2 of 4 power plays and the Komets were 1 for 5 at Memorial Coliseum.
It was Schaafsma’s return to the lineup from an injury, and it came in a game the Komets outshot the Cyclones 72-31.
The teams have played three playoff series, and 14 playoff games, over five years and reached overtime seven times and double overtime four times. The Komets have a 4-3 record in those games that have gone beyond regulation time.
Game 2 will be 6 p.m. Sunday at the Coliseum.
The Komets controlled possession of the puck in the opening period, outshooting the Cyclones 16-4, but the only goal was scored by Cincinnati’s Daniel Muzito-Bagenda during a power play at 5:26. With Jason Binkley in the penalty box for holding, Muzito-Bagenda skated in from the left boards and tucked the puck between the legs of goalie Michael Houser, who played last season for the Cyclones.
A stroke of bad luck put the Komets in a two-goal hole. Muzito-Bagenda fired the puck down the boards from center ice and Houser went behind the net to stop it, but it caromed inexplicably off the boards and went to the front of the net, where Justin Vaive backhanded it into an open net a minute into the second period.
Cyclones coach Matt Macdonald had three goalies to choose from and went with Jonas Johansson, who was 1-2-0 with an .897 save percentage in three regular-season games against the Komets, while Jason Kasdorf was the backup and Hayden Stewart was in the stands. Johansson stopped 48 shots during regulation time and Houser turned away 17.
With the teams skating 4-on-4, Shawn Szydlowski won a faceoff back to Daniel Maggio, whose rocketing slapshot from 50 feet out eluded Johansson 9:30 into the second period to cut the Cyclones’ lead to one goal. Szydlowski was announced as the ECHL’s MVP on Friday, after a vote among coaches, reporters, broadcasters and media-relations directors.
Penalties continued to play a part and the Komets tied it at 2 on a power-play goal, with Dominic Zombo serving a slashing penalty at 13:13, as a Szydlowski shot caromed off Johansson and Garrett Thompson was there to snap the puck into an open net.
Zombo was assessed a match penalty 2:19 later for boarding Justin Hodgman near the Komets’ bench. Hodgman was unable to return to the game.
Though the Komets failed to score on the ensuing five-minute power play, they took a 3-2 lead 6:39 into the third period on a Ryan Lowney one-timer, after Justin MacDonald set him up with a pass from the corner. But Cincinnati’s Justin Schultz, who finished second to Szydlowski for the ECHL’s regular-season scoring title (79 to 75 points), tied it at 3 with a shot from the top of the right circle at 8:41, as Mason Baptista was in the penalty box for high-sticking.
The Komets had a chance to end it 1:19 into overtime but Thompson’s backhand from off the left post was foiled by Johansson. A flurry of shots included a Phelix Martineau blast from the right circle for the Komets that was stopped at 7:58. Lowney thought he’d won it at 10:40 but he hit the post, shortly after a Jason Binkley shot headed toward an open net hit teammate Mason Baptista in the helmet, as Fort Wayne had 10 of the first 13 shots in overtime.
Fort Wayne’s Gabriel Desjardins was penalized for holding Shawn O’Donnell at 16:14, and Houser turned away the three shots he faced on the ensuing power play. Fort Wayne outshot Cincinnati 14-9 in the scoreless first overtime.
Schaafsma was back in the lineup after he’d missed 24 games during the regular season because of injuries and illnesses, including 17 of the last 21. Despite hopes that he would be available for Game 1, defenseman Ryan Culkin remained out for a 17th straight games. The Komets’ injured list also included Curtis Leonard, Marco Roy and all-star Artur Tyanulin, while Trevor Cheek and Zac Larraza were with Tucson of the American Hockey League.
Notes: Cincinnati scratched defensemen Anthony Florentino, Eric Diodati and Mitch Nylen, and goalie Hayden Stewart. Forward Justin Danforth, the ECHL’s Rookie of the Year and the fourth-place finisher in MVP voting, is in the AHL with Rochester. Anthony Peters, the fourth playoff eligible goalie for the Cyclones, is with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. … The ECHL uses a two-referee system in the playoffs. The referees were Jeff Parker and Tyler Puddifant. … The ECHL’s vice president of hockey operations, Joe Ernst, who is in charge of the referees, was at the game. … Toledo leads the other Central Division series 1-0, thanks to a Tyler Barnes goal that cemented a 4-3 double-overtime victory over Indy.