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The Journal Gazette

  • Katie Fyfe | The Journal Gazette The Komets' Jake Kamrass gets into a fight with Toledo's Michael Moffat during the second period 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 The Komets' Mason Baptista carries the puck while Toledo's Justin Kea defends him during the second period at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday.

  • Katie Fyfe | The Journal Gazette The Komets' Justin Hodgman carries the puck during the second quarter against the Toledo Walleye at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday.

  • 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 Komets' Phelix Martineau chases after the puck during the first period against the Toledo Walleye at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday.

  • Katie Fyfe | The Journal Gazette The Komets' Phelix Martineau controls the puck while Toledo's Matthew Register defends him during the second period at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday.

  • Katie Fyfe | The Journal Gazette The Komets' Jake Kamrass has to be held back from fighting Toledo's Michael Moffat during the second period at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday.

Saturday, March 09, 2019 10:20 pm

K's creeping up on 2nd in division

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Early in the week, Komets general manager David Franke said making the playoffs “would be a great accomplishment,” given how abhorrently inconsistent his team has been this season.

Since then, the Komets have won three straight games. And, believe it or not, they are now just seven points back of the Toledo Walleye for the second of four playoff spots in the Central Division with 14 games left in the regular season.

Mason Bapista had a remarkable goal and Shawn Szydlowski and J.C. Campagna cemented a 4-1 victory for the Komets over the Walleye with third-period goals in front of 9,519 fans tonight at Memorial Coliseum.

The Komets’ power play, which entered the night ranked 25th among the ECHL’s 27 teams at 13.8 percent efficiency, had one of its better-looking performances to open the scoring 3:17 into the first period. A no-look Phelix Martineau pass to Ryan Lowney set up a play to Szydlowski for a slap-shot from the top of the left circle and a 1-0 lead, ensuring there wouldn’t be a repeat of the previous meeting between the rival teams – an 11-0 victory by the Walleye at Toledo, Ohio, on March 2.

The Komets’ power play unit had gone 1 for 2 in Friday’s 3-2 victory at Kalamazoo, Michigan, cemented by Martineau’s overtime goal on an end-to-end rush against the Wings.

Tonight, the Komets’ power play was 1 for 4; the Walleye was 0 for 5.

Toledo’s Tyler Spezia made a nifty play to tie it at 1; he grabbed the rebound of a Dylan Sadowy shot out of mid-air and quickly circled the net to slip the puck inside the right post and underneath diving Fort Wayne goaltender Zach Fucale at 13:56.

An unreal – although possibly not legal – play put the Komets back on top 8:04 into the second period. Baptista, stationed in front of the Toledo net, caught Lowney’s blue-line shot with his glove, threw it behind his back, dove around the Walleye’s Matt Register, the ECHL’s reigning Defenseman of the Year, and then dove to swat the puck past goaltender Kaden Fulcher for a 2-1 lead.

(Video of the goal is above.)

Earlier in the game, referee Jesse Gour had called on penalty on Josh Elmes, who made his Fort Wayne debut, for closing his hand on the puck on a similar play near the blue line.

Szydlowski made it 3-1 with a breakaway goal 2:54 into the third period, set up by a Baptista pass. Campagna netted his 31st goal in 50 games since joining the Komets by skating into the offensive zone, putting on the brakes so sliding Toledo defenseman Brenden Kotyk went by, then snapping the puck past Fulcher for a 4-1 lead at 3:44.

Fucale had 29 saves. Fulcher had 25.

Note: Brady Shaw, called up from the Komets on Wednesday, was in the lineup tonight for Chicago of the American Hockey League.

jcohn@jg.net