Komets continue posting amazing numbers in February

The Komets mob Artie Tyanulin after he scored in overtime to give Fort Wayne a 3-2 win over Greenville on Saturday night. (By Blake Sebring of News-Sentinel.com)

The Fort Wayne Komets continued building some incredible numbers Saturday with a 3-2 overtime win over Greenville before 9,081 Memorial Coliseum fans.

Artie Tyanulin’s beautiful backhand goal 2:51 into the extra session gave the Komets their fifth consecutive win and fourth in a row at home. They are 16-1-1 over their last 18 games and 31-8-1 since Nov. 19.

They have also gone 10-0-1 in February with one more game to go, Tuesday in Wichita.

Thanks to that streak, they hold a one-point lead over Toledo for the ECHL’s Central Division lead and over Colorado for the Western Conference lead. They have played one fewer game than the Walleye, which will increase to two tomorrow afternoon, and two fewer games than the Eagles.

The Komets have also pulled within one point of Florida for the overall ECHL lead. The Everblades have played one more game than the Komets.

“We talked about taking care of the month of February,” Komets coach Gary Graham said. “We’ve got one more game left, but we wanted to bank as many points because we’re going to get a heavy challenge in March.”

The Komets are also 9-0-1 over their last 10 home games to improve to 21-5-3 on the season, and the one shootout loss came because the opposing goaltender made 60 saves in regulation. They’ve won four in a row and seven of eight on the road.

Saturday’s game was a bit of a struggle after giving up two power-play goals to the Swamp Rabbits. Tyanulin scored twice, and Shawn Szydlowski scored his third goal in four games and added an assist to extend his ECHL scoring lead to four points over Manchester’s Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman. Szydlowski had 26 goals and 64 points in 46 games. Goaltender Michael Houser made 22 saves to win his sixth game in a row and ninth in his last 10.

“I loved the way the guys responded,” Graham said. “We took care of the puck and bought into playing forecheck, get-to-the- body type of hockey and making them have to defend. Again, Greenville defended with purpose and their goalie played very well. We had some looks, and he made some really good saves.”