The Fort Wayne Komets (24-15-4-2) took to the ice Friday night to complete their four-game road trip versus the Cincinnati Cyclones (28-12-5-3); this was the team’s seventh matchup of the year, having split the first six, three games apiece. The Komets came into tonight’s matchup, winning two in a row and eight of the last nine, while Cincinnati was riding a four-game winning streak. Ryan Fanti started in net for the K’s in his 17th start of the season, his second against the Cyclones after winning his first matchup.
Cincinnati put Fanti to the test from the start firing off multiple shots in the first five minutes. However, Ryan was able to keep things tied at zero. The high-volume shot attempts for the Cyclones, along with a poor cross-checking penalty by Jacob Graves, led to a Cincinnati powerplay goal by former Komet Justin Vaive at 10:21. The goal was reviewed afterward due to the net coming off its pegs after Fanti slid into the before to the puck crossing the line however the referee called it a good goal. Graves took another penalty to give the Cyclones a power penalty, followed by an open-ice trip from Jalen Smereck on Komet’s forward Oliver Cooper, which led to a scuffle between Matt Alvaro and Smereck. The physical battle continued with Stefano Gilialy pummelling Zack Andrusiak for a five-minute fighting major. Cincinnati continued causing havoc on the K’s defense, placing their twentieth shot on goal, which Fanti saved. Still, unfortunately, the rebound came out for a wide-open goal by Bray Crowder with just 11 seconds remaining in the period to make it 2-0 Cyclones. The Komets were outshot 21-5 in the first.
The momentum started to shift early in the second period as the Komets were awarded their first powerplay of the game. Shawn Boudrias, who spent Wednesday playing for the Wolves in Chicago, was able to put a shot on goal and finish things up on the rebound; however, once again, the same net came off its pegs before the puck crossed the goal line. The play was reviewed as determined to be a no-goal, as the net was off before Shacould connected with the puck on his rebound attempt. Cincinnati went up 3-0 on a Matej Pekar goal at 7:32. Alvaro was finally able to get the Komets on the board when he ripped one by Warm for his 7th goal of the year at 16:38 in the second period to cut the deficit to two. The K’s closed the gap on shot differential during the second period putting ten shots on goal while holding the Cyclones to just five.
The Komets took the ice motivated in the third per; it took just 44 seconds for Sam Dove-McFalls to score in his fifth straight game for the Komets to make it a 3-2 Cyclone leaTwenty-seven 27 seconds later, Cooper hit Drake Rymsha across the crease for a tap-in and the game-tying goal.
Back-to-back costly penalties to Rymsha and Graves gave the Cyclones a 5-3 advantage for 1:48 with just under 16 minutes left in the third period. Fanti made multiple stops, but unfortunately, the disadvantage eventually led to a Cincinnati goal at 5:02 in the third. Boudrias tied things up on the power play at 10:56 with his team-leading 21st goon. Back-and-forth things went with scoring chances for both teams, but Fanti and Warm kept the final 9 minutes scoreless, forcing this game into overtime.
Fort Wayne started overtime with a few looks to win but could not cash in. A questionable hooking call on Dave-McFalls gave Cincinnati a four-on-three advantage. Still, the K’s penalty kill was able to fend things off and return to full strength before closing out the overtime period leading to a shootout.
Cincinnati had the first attempt in the shootout, but Fanti was able to make a play on the puck for the save. Giliati followed up with a goal putting the K’s up after causing Warm to fall and flipping one over him.
Fanti made a glove save on the Cyclone’s second attempt, while Rymsa missed his second attempt. Fanti made a terrific save on Cincinnati’s third and final attempt giving the Komets the shootout win!
Ryan Fanti finished the game with 35 saves and three saves in the shootout session, while the Komets had 25 shots on goal. The Komets return home to the Coliseum Saturday night for a rematch with Cincinnati on Report Card Night, while the K’s will be wearing their special jerseys for Beat Cancer Night. Game-worn jerseys will be auctioned off during the game.