The Journal Gazette
 
 
Wednesday, April 07, 2021 9:50 pm

K's squander lead, fall in OT

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Cody Sylvester is on a tear. And he’s victimized the Komets once again.

He scored on a 40-foot power-play shot with 1:08 remaining in regulation time and then scored from just a little bit closer in overtime, leading the Wheeling Nailers to a 4-3 victory over the Komets in Wheeling, West Virginia, tonight.

Jeremy Helvig stopped 15 shots for the Komets Shane Starrett stopped 25 for the Nailers.

Fort Wayne’s Brandon Hawkins, who has eviscerated his former team with six goals and 10 points in 11 games, opened the scoring by rushing in from the left boards and flicking a shot high on Starrett during a power play 7:35 into the first period. Hawkins has 10 goals and 14 points in his last nine games, and he leads the team in goals (15) and points (24), while also ranking second in the ECHL with eight power-play goals.

Helvig foiled a Patrick Watling attempt at the end of a 2-on-1 rush at 9:40, on Wheeling’s only shot of the first 15:39. Helvig kept it 1-0 by stopping Sylvester’s left-circle shot at 19:10, though the puck got underneath Helvig and crept close to the goal line.

The Nailers tied it on their fifth shot, 4:16 into the second period, when a wild bounce in their end set up a 3-on-1 up-ice rush that was finished by a Matt Miller one-timer. It took the Komets two minutes to answer; Fort Wayne-native Blake Siebenaler, another former Wheeling player, netted a 50-foot slapshot. Siebenaler has scored in back-to-back games and has three goals in 24 this season.

Wheeling’s Nick Rivera had a great chance to tie it on a breakaway at 9:38, but he hit the crossbar. And Starrett prevented the Nailers from falling behind further, thwarting Matt Murphy and Zach Pochiro on breakaways late in the period.

Just 28 seconds into the third period, Helvig followed suit with a sprawling save on Lawton Courtnall. But Helvig couldn’t thwart Matt Alfaro’s shot, at the end of a 2-on-1 rush, that tied it at 7:45.

Another native of Fort Wayne, Jackson Leef, regained the lead for Fort Wayne by scoring off the rebound of a Siebenaler shot at 8:34. But Sylvester tied it at 18:52, after A.J. Jenks was penalized for hooking.

The Nailers played without forward Joshua Winquist, as he served the first half of his two-game suspension for elbowing Komets goalie Dylan Ferguson, who was out with a neck/head injury.

Notes: Jenks, who assisted on the Hawkins goal, has three goals and 11 points in his last seven games. … The Komets announced that a limited number of tickets have been made available for the games at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday and Sunday against the Indy Fuel, thanks to an improved state of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the team reiterated that wearing masks will still be mandatory at Coliseum games indefinitely. “The Komet Hockey Club will continue all safety precautions that have been in place since February at our home games,” team president Michael Franke said in a news release. “We have been very fortunate to get back to playing hockey under the guidelines and see no reason to change course at this time.” The Komets play at Indianapolis on Friday. … Marco Roy, Nick Boka, Oliver Cooper, Nolan LaPorte and Curtis Leonard sat out for the Komets. … The referee was Trevor Wohlford.

jcohn@jg.net

 

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