Anthony Petruzzelli had two chances to win it with breakaways in overtime today. He made the second one count, lifting a backhand shot above the glove of Toledo Walleye goaltender Kaden Fulcher for a pivotal 2-1 victory at Toledo, Ohio.
The Komets (32-23-10) regained control of third place in the Central Division, though the second-place Walleye (36-20-9) clinched a playoff spot by gaining a point in the standings.
The Komets have seven games remaining to try and catch the Walleye, which is seven points ahead, and keep the teams below them at bay. Kalamazoo is two points back, Indy is six points behind and Wheeling is eight. The top four teams in the division will make the postseason.
Fort Wayne plays host to Kalamazoo at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Memorial Coliseum.
The Komets have now had 19 games go past regulation time – tied with Rapid City for the most in the ECHL – and such games hadn’t treated the Komets particularly well. They are now 8-4 in games decided in 3-on-3 overtimes, including the 3-2 loss to Indy on Saturday, and they are 1-6 in shootouts.
It was the final regular-season meeting between the Komets and their archrival and it was a much different outcome from the previous time they’d met at the Huntington Center, on March 2, when the Walleye won 11-0.
This time, the teams were scoreless in the first period, though the Walleye twice hit goalposts.
In the second period, the Komets opened the scoring when Mason Baptista redirected a Brady Shaw shot underneath goalie Kaden Fulcher at 8:30. But the Walleye answered at 16:26, when Ryan Obuchowski netted a 35-foot shot in front of 7,804 fans.
Fort Wayne’s rookie goalie, Alex Dubeau, who had stopped 35 shots in his debut Saturday, came up with a big stop on a Tyler Spezia breakaway late in the second period.
Dubeau finished with 37 saves. Fulcher had 29, including one on Justin Hodgman from point-blank range during overtime.
Notes: Fort Wayne’s J.C. Campagna, who came in to the game tied for the ECHL’s goal-scoring lead with 34, was back in the lineup after missing a game with an undisclosed injury. … With only five healthy defensemen, captain Jamie Schaafsma was back at the blue line again. … The referee was Chris Pontes. … Indy, which is in fifth place in the division, defeated ECHL-leading Cincinnati 7-6 to get within four points of the Komets.