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The Journal Gazette

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets forward Marco Roy races down the ice during the first period Saturday against Cincinnati. Roy had a goal in the Fort Wayne victory. 

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets left-wing Garrett Thompson lines up to take a shot at the net in the first period against Cincinnati Saturday at Memorial Coliseum.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets center Justin Hodgman races down the ice in the first period against Cincinnati Saturday at Memorial Coliseum.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets right-wing Shawn Szydlowski and Cincinnati defiance Brycen Martin collide on the ice in the first period at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Linesman Patrick Richardson fights to separate players on the ice during a brawl between the Komets and Cincinnati in the first period at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday.  

Sunday, March 11, 2018 1:00 am

Komets 4 Cincinnati 1

Komets rally after Cyclones' fluke goal

Roy evens score after strange bounce of puck

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

The Komets had the pressure of playing in front of 9,273 fans, including 39 members of their nine playoff championship teams who were honored before Saturday night's game at Memorial Coliseum.

And for less than a minute, perhaps that got to them. 

A confusing sequence saw referee Stephen Thomson fall in the corner, and as Fort Wayne's players waited for a stoppage of play that didn't come, Cincinnati's Mike Barrett snapped a 20-foot shot into the net 32 seconds into the first period.

But the Komets, who have won 20 of their last 24 games, responded as they so often do and won 4-1. They got a wild tying goal from Marco Roy, Zac Larraza's first two-goal game of the season, and to witness one of the scariest moments in years at the Coliseum.

At the end of the first period, Cincinnati's Dominic Zombo was checked to the ice and then struck in the neck by a shot from teammate Alexander Taulien. Zombo was examined by trainers and doctors for several minutes before being taken to Parkview Medical Regional Center. Komets president Michael Franke confirmed Zombo was conscious with movement in his extremities.

“You never want to see something like that, no matter who it is or what team you're playing for,” Larraza said. “It was sad to see. We all took a moment of silence in here, going into the second period, so hopefully he's OK. Prayers to him and his family.”

Thomson was also headed to the hospital, having separated his shoulder on his fall.

“When he fell over, we thought he was going to blow the whistle and guys just stopped playing because they thought that's what was going to happen,” Komets coach Gary Graham said. “But you can't ever do that; until you hear a whistle, you keep playing through. ... The puck was sitting under the referee and (Curtis Leonard and Bobby Shea) weren't going to stab at the guy. But (the Cyclones) did and they ended up coming out with the puck, and then a guy comes down the slot and he's wide open.”

Roy's goal came from the left circle after the puck caromed strangely off a stanchion.

“They scored that unfortunate goal and then we scored that unfortunate goal, looking at it from that angle. The hockey gods looked down at us from that angle and it was nice to get that one back quick. We just kind of poured it on after that. We had a couple lapses, but we really took it to them after that,” said Larraza, who closed the first period by scoring off a redirection and with a 20-foot shot.

After a scoreless second period, Artur Tyanulin cemented the victory for the Komets (41-15-3) by sending a 45-foot shot between the legs of goalie Jonas Johansson, who had 33 saves. Garrett Bartus stopped 24 shots for Fort Wayne, which is 3-3-1 against Cincinnati (33-23-2), teams that showed their dislike for one another with a first-period fracas.

Fort Wayne's Dennis Kravchenko and Cincinnati's Brandon McNally both tried to break free from officials to fight, each drawing double-minors for roughing and misconducts. Also, Fort Wayne's Shawn Szydlowski, the ECHL's leading scorer, unleashed a flurry of punches that sent Rob DeFulviis to the ice.

Note: The Komets signed rookie forward Russell Jordan, who had 13 goals and 24 points in 24 games this season with Hamline University.

jcohn@jg.net