Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette A referee has to hold back the Komets' Mason Baptista, right, and the Eagles' Matt Register to keep them from fighting during the second period at the Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday.
Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette The Komets celebrate after scoring a goal during the second period at the Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday.
Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette The Komets' Gabriel Desjardins, left, tries to get the puck away from the Eagles' Michael Joly during the second period at the Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday.
Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette The Komets' Trevor Cheek, left, and the Eagles' Ryan Olsen try to get ahold of the puck during the first period at the Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday.
Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette The Komets' Anthony Petruzzelli, left, and the Eagles' Drayson Bowman fight for the puck during the first period at the Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday.
Wednesday, May 16, 2018 10:10 pm
Roy leads the charge, K's lead series 2-1
JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette
Marco Roy’s teammates continually talk about him being an inspiration because he’s battled through myriad injuries during the playoffs, including those to his knees, yet he keeps giving it everything he’s got.
It’s hard for them to not give it 100 percent, too, when they see him lunging to block shots, limp off the ice, then go back out for more a minute later.
But now Roy is doing more than just the dirty work; he’s scoring too.
He had the game-winning goal in Game 2. And tonight, he had a goal and two assists, leading the Komets to a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Eagles that gave them a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 Western Conference finals.
Game 4 will be at the Coliseum 8 p.m. Friday and Game 5 will be here 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
The teams had split the first two games of the series at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colorado, where Michael Joly’s hat trick led the Eagles to a 3-2 overtime victory in Game 1 on Saturday, and Garrett Bartus’ 19 saves in place of Michael Houser sparked the Komets to a 3-2 victory on Sunday.
As if both teams weren’t short-handed enough because of the ECHL suspensions handed down after Game 2, Fort Wayne’s Shawn Szydlowski, the regular-season MVP and leading scorer, couldn’t play because of a lower-body injury, and J.C. Beaudin, the Eagles’ leading playoff scorer, was out with an upper-body injury.
The Komets were also without Daniel Maggio and Dennis Kravchenko, suspended for their part in the fracas before Game 2, as were Colorado’s Gabriel Verpaelst and Joey Ratelle, while Fort Wayne’s Justin Hodgman and Phelix Martineau remained out with injuries.
So the return of Trevor Cheek, who had been with Tucson of the higher-level American Hockey League since March 11, was fortuitous. Also back on the ice was all-star Artur Tyanulin, a rookie, who had been scratched the previous three games.
The impetus for the Game 2 melee had been an injury that Houser had suffered in the opener on a hit from Ryan Harrison, but Houser was back in net tonight and looked sharp in the scoreless first period by stopping Shawn St-Amant on a shot-from point-blank range. Colorado’s goalie, Joe Cannata, had an equally noteworthy save in the first period on Bobby Shea’s shot from 25 feet out.
The Eagles put on the offensive pressure early in the second period, when Julien Nantel got a breakaway but missed the net and St-Amant had a one-timer in front that was turned away by Houser to keep it scoreless.
Moments after he had lifted the puck over the net from 10-feet out, Fort Wayne’s Garrett Thompson atoned by scoring the game’s first goal 9:42 into the second period. It was set up by Roy, who stole the puck from Cliff Watson, rocketed toward the net and sent a no-look pass to Thompson for the one-timer goal.
It didn’t take long for the Eagles to answer, though, with Jake Marto netting a shot from the point at 12:03.
The Komets opened the third period with 1:12 left in a 5-on-3 power play – Collin Bowman was in the penalty box for roughing Anthony Petruzzelli and Matt Register for high-sticking Gabriel Desjardins – and Desjardins capitalized on a one-timer after Roy set him up with a pass that skirted through the crease.
Roy continued his productivity by making it 3-1 at 3:23, after Thompson sped down the right wing and fed him a backhand pass for a one-timer, setting off a raucous celebration among the 6,089 fans.
Marto netted a goal with nine seconds left in regulation, but the damage had been done by the Komets with a 1-for-4 night on the power play while Colorado was 0 for 3.
Desjardins had an empty netter with five seconds left. Houser stopped 27 shots.