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The Journal Gazette

  • Photos by Jeremy Wadsworth | The Blade Toledo forward Chris Crane goes airborne in front of the Komets' net while taking a shot on goal during Game 2 of the Central Division semifinals Saturday in Toledo.  

  • Jeremy Wadsworth | The Blade Komets goalie Zach Fucale stops a Toledo Walleye shot during the second period of Game 2 of the Central Division semifinals Saturday at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio.  

  • Jeremy Wadsworth | The Blade Komets defenseman Kevin Gibson moves the puck past Toledo Walleye forward Zach Gallant during Game 2 of the Central Division semifinals Saturday at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio.  

  • An official breaks up a skirmish between Toledo forward Ben Storm and Komets defenseman Cody Sol during Saturday’s playoff game.

  • Jeremy Wadsworth | The Blade Toledo Walleye goalie Pat Nagle blocks a shot by Komets forward Jake Kamrass during the second period of Game 2 of the Central Division semifinals Saturday at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio.  

Sunday, April 14, 2019 1:20 am

ECHL Playoffs Toledo 6 Komets 0

'Anemic' Komets blanked

Graham says team poor in all facets

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette


Komets vs. Toledo

Central Division semifinals


Walleye leads 2-0

Game 1: Toledo wins 3-2

Game 2: Toledo wins 6-0

Game 3: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Coliseum

Game 4: Friday, 8 p.m. at Coliseum

Game 5: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. at Toledo*

Game 6: April 23, 7:30 p.m. at Coliseum*

Game 7: April 24, 7:30 p.m. at Toledo*

*If necessary

TOLEDO – The Komets' roster is laden with offensive playmakers – guys such as Brady Shaw, Shawn Szydlowski, J.C. Campagna, Justin Hodgman, Jake Kamrass and Marco Roy – but it doesn't look like it right now.

On the heels of s 6-0 loss Saturday to the Toledo Walleye, the Komets trail the Central Division semifinals 2-0. Only Shaw and Kamrass have scored for Fort Wayne in the series, which includes a 3-2 loss in the opener Friday.

“We've got some guys who are, frankly, invisible,” Fort Wayne coach Gary Graham said, after Fort Wayne allowed the Walleye to score on 4 of 7 power plays at the Huntington Center in front of 7,723 fans. “You look across the board and you've got guys who look like they've yet to show up in this hockey series. I think some guys have got to take some hard looks in the mirror because we're going nowhere fast unless some of our better players start playing some better hockey.”

The score would have been worse if Fort Wayne goaltender Zach Fucale hadn't come up with several terrific saves in stopping 37 shots, but he didn't get much help as the Komets suffered their first shutout in the playoffs since the Jeff Lerg-led Walleye ousted them from the 2017 playoffs in Toledo. That was Pat Nagle's final game in net for the Komets, and he was on the other end of it Saturday, stopping 23 shots for Toledo.

“We were moving our feet. We're a dangerous team when we're moving our feet,” Nagle said. “(In Game 1), I thought they did a good job of holding us here and there – it was just a good checking game up and down – and tonight we were able to open it up, get pucks deep, get our feet moving and cause them to take some penalties. We were able to cash in on the power play.”

Shane Berschbach, Greg Wolfe, Tyler Spezia and Zach Gallant each had a goal and an assist for the Walleye, in a game that saw several big hits and post-whistle tussles.

The game really turned in the second period, when Fort Wayne's Ryan Lowney checked Dylan Sadowy to the ice, setting up a 10-player melee that, strangely, saw Sadowy escape without any of the three penalties from referees Chris Pontes and Jeff Parker. On the ensuing power play, Sadowy's crossing pass set up Berschbach for a goal and a 3-0 lead at 2:24. The Walleye's next three goals were all on power plays.

Toledo also got goals from Ben Danford and Randy Gazzola.

The best-of-7 series now shifts to Memorial Coliseum for games Wednesday and Friday.

Asked what the Komets need to work on before then, captain Jamie Schaafsma said: “Right now, it looks like a lot of stuff. Tonight was a frustrating game for us: Our forecheck struggled, our penalty kill struggled, and obviously we took more penalties than we wanted. It was a very disappointing game for us. But it's playoff time, and we've got to put that game behind us. We've got to focus on Game 3 and on taking care of home ice.”

Fort Wayne was 0 for 3 on its power plays, and Graham said his team must step up in almost every department.

“You've got to find a heartbeat. There was no heartbeat with this team tonight,” he said. “I thought Toledo outclassed us in every aspect of the game. Once I cut up the video, I think I'll be lucky if I find two scoring chances. It could have been the most anemic offensive output of the entire season.”

Notes: The Komets made two lineup changes from Game 1, inserting Craig Cescon and Kyle Hope for Cam Knight and Anthony Nellis. ... The Walleye released Michael Moffat to get in under the salary cap with the return of Trevor Hamilton from Grand Rapids of the AHL.