FORT WAYNE, Ind – Inclement weather and tough road conditions in Ohio slowed the Cyclones from arriving in Fort Wayne but was not enough to keep them from a win in overtime, taking the Komets in a shootout, 3-2 in front of a crowd of 8,014 at the Memorial Coliseum.
Nick Boucher, former Komets goaltender foreshadowed the win for the Cyclones before they arrived.
“The home team has a disadvantage (when visitors are late), because they are sitting around, having done their routine; my experience is the team becomes flat, where the visitors hit the ice running and are adrenalized,” Boucher said.
After the game, Cyclones Coach Ben Simon echoed Boucher, regarding the impact on the home team when visitors show up late, “We know when we are going to arrive, the home team is sitting here not knowing when we would arrive. You just get dressed and play hockey. We were desperate for a win (ending a 6-game skid of losses tonight). Two points on the road in a tough building is big for us.”
The Komets (22-14-10, 54 points) and Cincinnati (26-18-2, 54 points) entered Friday’s game in Fort Wayne two points behind North Division leader Kalamazoo (Kalamazoo hosted Toledo tonight with a win, 5-2).
After Friday, Cincinnati banked the two points, the Komets with one point in the tight Eastern Conference race for playoff position.
At 12.25 in the opening frame, Komets Dean Ouellet grabbed his own rebound and buried his 11th goal of the season to make it 1-0. The Cyclones came out strong in the second period, out shooting the Komets 15-7.
Komets Coach Gary Graham said, “We didn’t handle the second period well. They made a solid push in the second.”
At 13:40, also in the second, Brian Nugent of the Cyclones batted an air-born puck to tie the score, 1-1.
Cincinnati grabbed the lead for the first time at 3:36 of the third period when Hazen deposited a quick rebound, making it a 2-1 game.
The Komets fired back with a goal from Brandon Marino at the 12:00 mark sending the game into overtime.
Each clubs goaltender stood strong in the overtime, fighting off power plays leading to the shootout.
Cincinnati’s Dan Eves claimed the victory for the Cyclones to put an end to a late night game in Fort Wayne.
Notes: The Komets will finish the week with a road game at Kalamazoo Saturday night before returning home to host Wheeling Sunday at 5pm. The Cyclones will close out their weekend road trip tomorrow night in Toledo.
All photos by John Rothwell