By: Forrest R. Church, Publisher
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
The East Coast Hockey League rivalry between the Fort Wayne Komets and Toledo Walleye continued Tuesday evening at the War Memorial Coliseum in front of a weeknight crowd of 6,160.
The Walleye jumped out in front in the best of seven series with a 2-1 series lead before Fort Wayne earned two consecutive victories to put Toledo on the edge of elimination (3 games to 2).
Despite an early lead, the host Komets were too much down the stretch on Tuesday evening, eliminating the Walleye 4-2.
The Komets took an early 1-0 lead on a Mason Baptista shot. Toledo fought back to knot the game 1-1 as Walleye Zach Nastasiuk picked up a rebound off Austen Brassard’s shot for the power play goal. Toledo would take their first lead of the game when Walleye Christian Hilbrich sent a pass to Brassard, who then found the back of the net to put the visitors up 2-1. Jason Binkley pulled the Komets even again with a power-play goal, knotting the contest 2-2.
Gabriel Desjardins scored the key goal of the game in the second period to give the Komets a 3-2 lead going into the second intermission as the Walleye were playing catch up the rest of the contest.
The third period was a hard-fought battle. With time running out on the Walleye in the game and on their season, Toledo pulled goaltender Pat Nagle in an attempt for a late contest tie. With 62 seconds remaining Komet Shawn Szydlowski nailed an open net breakaway goal sealing the Fort Wayne victory 4-2.
Game / Season Notes:
- Desjardins led the Komets in the series with four goals and six points while Houser went 4-2 with a 2.18 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage.
- Jenks and Sadowy shared the team lead for Toledo in the series with three goals and Shane Berschbach posted a team-leading five points (2g-3a).
- Komet goaltender Houser earned the series-winning game making 28 saves on 30 shots in his 10th straight playoff appearance. Nagle suffered the loss allowing three goals on 33 shots.
- The Komets three straight victories over Toledo is only the second time this season Toledo experienced a three-game losing streak.
- It’s the first series taken from Toledo by the Komets in the ECHL after three post-season meetings. The last time the Komets eliminated a Toledo team from the playoffs was in 1980 with a 4-0 sweep of the Goaldiggers in an IHL first-round series.
With the win the Komets will appear in the Conference Finals for the second time in the last three years facing the defending Kelly Cup Champions, the Colorado Eagles.
FORT WAYNE KOMETS VS COLORADO EAGLES
Game 1- Saturday, May 12………… Fort Wayne at Colorado, 7:05pm MT
Game 2- Sunday, May 13…………… Fort Wayne at Colorado, 7:05pm MT
Game 3- Wednesday, May 16…….. Colorado at Fort Wayne, 7:35pm ET
Game 4- Friday, May 18…………….. Colorado at Fort Wayne, 8:00pm ET
Game 5- Saturday, May 19………… Colorado at Fort Wayne, 7:35pm ET*
Game 6- Tuesday, May 22…………. Fort Wayne at Colorado, 7:05pm MT*
Game 7- Wednesday, May 23…….. Fort Wayne at Colorado, 7:05pm MT*
Forrest R. Church may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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