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Stingrays edge Komets in goaltender duel

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Komets at South Carolina
Face-off: 7 p.m.
Radio: WOWO, 1190-AM

Norfolk sends Schaus, Guentzel back to Fort Wayne

Saturday, March 2, 2013 - 3:37 am

As expected, the goaltenders were the stars on Friday night in Charleston, S.C.

South Carolina's Ryan Zapolski out-dueled Fort Wayne goaltender Jeff Deslauriers as the Stingrays won 2-1 in a shootout.

``It was a tight game,'' Komets coach Al Sims said by phone. ``Both teams had chances to end it in the third, but the goaltending was spectacular.''

Zapolski leads the ECHL with a 1.67 goals against average, and former NHLer Deslauriers has been playing well since coming to the Komets five games ago from the Anaheim Ducks organization.

The Komets out-shot the Stingrays 34-32 and took a 1-0 lead early in the first period on a goal by Nick Schaus off assists from Brandon Marino and Matt Syroczynski. Schaus and Gabe Guentzel were both sent to the Komets earlier Friday from Norfolk of the American Hockey League.

``They were both excellent,'' Sims said. ``Nick hasn't played in a while and you could tell he was a little rusty, but he'll just keep getting better.''

That lead lasted for about 10 minutes as South Carolina's Andrew Cherniwchan scored with 2:24 left in the first period off a Fort Wayne turnover.

``The one goal they get on him (Deslauriers) is a deflection which is just a seeing-eye thing,'' Sims said.

When the game went into the shootout, Tyler Johnson was finally able to beat Deslauriers, while none of the Komets could find the net behind Zapolski. Matt Firman and Guentzel both clanged shots off the crossbar.

``That's why he's half-a-goal beter than any goalie in the league,'' Sims said. ``The two that he didn't stop hit the crossbar. What can you say?''

The teams meet in a rematch at 7 p.m. tonight.

The Komets are still in 10th place in the ECHL's Eastern Conference. Even though they earned one point on Friday, none of the teams ahead of them were able to gain any distance as Greenville beat Elmira 3-2 in a shootout, Gwinnett beat Florida 5-2 and Cincinnati beat Kalamazoo 3-2. Wheeling lost to Trenton 3-2 in a shootout to stay two points behind the Komets.

There are 13 games remaining in the regular season.