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The Journal Gazette

  • Katie Fyfe | The Journal Gazette The Komets' Shawn Szydlowski chases the puck during the first period against the Toledo Walleye at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday.

  • Katie Fyfe | The Journal Gazette the The Komets' J.C. Campagna carries the puck during the first period against Toledo Walleye at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday.

  • Katie Fyfe | The Journal Gazette Mason Baptista, rear, carries the puck while Toledo’s Justin Kea defends him at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday.

Saturday, March 09, 2019 11:30 pm

Analyzing Komets' 4-1 victory over Toledo

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Did Mason Baptista close his hand on the puck and throw it to set up his game-winning goal? He claims he did not.

What’s the difference? If it hit his arm, it’s legal. Otherwise, it's not.

His Komets teammate, Ryan Lowney, had fired the puck from the blue line and Baptista sent the puck from mid-air through the legs of Toledo’s Matt Register, the ECHL’s reigning Defenseman of the Year. Baptista then dove blindly around Register to the ice, swatting his stick to flick the puck past goaltender Kaden Fulcher for a one-goal lead in what would become a 4-1 victory tonight at Memorial Coliseum.

“I actually didn’t get my hand around it; it hit my forearm,” Baptista said after the Komets’ third straight victory. “I saw Lowney had shot it and I thought, ‘OK, I’ve just got to knock this thing down and get to open space.’ We practice little plays in front of the net all the time – nothing anything in particular like that – but again that’s where all that work in front of the net happens and you have to let that skill just take over sometimes.”

The Komets are now seven points back of Toledo for second place in the division and have a three-point cushion over Kalamazoo for third place.

“We’re just focused on trying to play the games the right way. That’s the main message for us,” coach Gary Graham said. “If we just focus on the process – and I know that’s a cliché but it’s the truth – but if you focus on just playing good defense down the road, good special teams and staying out of the (penalty) box, then it gives us a chance of winning. That’s all we want every night is a chance to win.”

Zach Fucale had 29 saves, as the Komets looked remarkably different from the previous meeting between the teams – an 11-0 victory by the Walleye in Toledo, Ohio, on March 2.

“I thought (Fucale) tracked the puck really well and they had a lot of big bodies right in front of him,” Graham said. “I thought he was seeing the puck really well. … He’s been really good the last couple nights and, overall, I think we’re starting to play a better style of defense in front of him, too.”