The Fort Wayne Komets defeated the Quad City Mallards 3-2 to eliminate the Mallards in five games and become the first team in the ECHL to advance to the next round. The Komets power play came up big and accounted for two of their three goals. Komets forward Jamie Schaafsma also recorded two points in the Komets victory.
The Komets got the scoring started quickly as forward Trevor Cheek redirected a point shot from defenseman Kyle Follmer to give the Komets an early 1-0 lead. That was Follmer’s first point after missing the last month with an injury and it couldn’t have come at a better time for Fort Wayne. Less than two minutes after the goal, Komets forward Garrett Thompson was called for tripping, but the Komets killed it off. Late in the opening frame, Mallards forward Michael Parks was sent off for slashing and Komets captain Schaafsma capitalized on the power play with his third goal of the playoffs to put the Komets up 2-0. Komets defenseman Jason Binkley and all-star forward Shawn Szydlowski were credited with the helpers. The last minute of the first was chippy with Mallards defenseman Andrew Panzarella and Komets forward Schaafsma talking to each other to end the first. The Komets led the Mallards in shots on goal 13-8 to end the first.
The middle stanza started with brisk end-to-end hockey, with both teams getting great scoring chances but neither converting. With 9:13 remaining in the second period, Mallards forward Nolan LaPorte was called for hooking to give the lethal Komets power play another chance and they converted. Forward Kyle Thomas batted the puck out of midair while falling to score an impressive goal to put the Komets up 3-0. The last three minutes of the period were chaotic and involved two Komets penalties, one of which was a controversial Cheek slashing penalty. Mallards forward Grant Arnold converted on the long man advantage to cut the lead to 3-1 with 35 seconds left in the middle frame. In the second period, the Mallards outshot the Komets 17-9. They also the led the game total 25-22 at the end of the second.
Less than two minutes into the final stanza, the Mallards continued their momentum after the late Arnold goal with another tally. This goal came after former Komet Chris Francis tipped in a Kevin Gibson shot from the point. This goal cut the Komets 3-0 lead that they held with less than a minute left in the second to 3-2. The teams traded scoring chances throughout the last period, but the Komets held on to eliminate Quad City in five games to be the first team in the ECHL to advance to the next round.
The Komets eliminated the Mallards in five game to become the first team in the ECHL to advance to the next round. Komets defenseman Follmer played in his first game in a month since suffering an injury and tallied an assist. Schaafsma recorded a goal and an assist in the Komets win. With an assist, Komets forward Mike Cazzola has eight points in five games in the playoffs thus far.
1.Jamie Schaafsma (FW, G, A, 2 SOG)
2.Kyle Thomas (FW, G, 5 SOG)
3.CJ Motte (QC, 31 SV, 34 SA)
The next game is to be determined, as the Komets await the winner of the Toledo-Kalamazoo series.