Komets rally to finish off fantastic February

Trevor Cheek

The Fort Wayne Komets found the perfect way to finish off a fantastic February.

Trailing 3-2 heading into the third period Tuesday night in Wichita, the Komets scored three goals to win their sixth game in a row 5-3 over the Thunder. Trevor Cheek tied the game 3:15 into the period, then Ryan Culkin chipped in a Cheek rebound to give Fort Wayne the lead with 1:15 remaining before Shawn Szydlowski scored into an empty net.

The decision was the Komets’ 999th road victory during their 66-year history. They’ll go for No. 1,000 on Friday night at Kansas City.

The win also completes a nearly perfect February for Fort Wayne as the Komets finished 11-0-1, with the only loss coming in a shootout after Quad City goaltender C.J. Motte made 60 saves. This is only the fourth time in Komets history where they completed a month without losing in regulation. They were 11-0-0 in December 1959 when they finished 50-16-2, went 7-0-1 in October 2001 and 13-0-1 in March 2008.

The Komets are 17-1-1 over their last 19 games and 33-8-1 since Nov. 19.

Despite the hot streak, the Komets are still second in the ECHL’s Central Division as Toledo won 4-3 at Indy on Tuesday. The Walleye have still played two more games than the Komets who have 18 games remaining in the regular season.

The Komets out-shot the Thunder 20-5 during the third period, finishing with a 43-28 edge for the game. That’s the 12th consecutive game the Komets have out-shot their opponents. They have outscored their opponents 97-52 during the third period this season.

Cheek finished with two goals and two assists, Justin Hodgman scored the other Fort Wayne goal and Michael Houser made 25 saves to win his seventh game in a row and 10th of his last 11. Culkin had a goal and an assist, Artie Tyanulin and Gabriel Desjardins each had two assists and Szydlowski pushed his ECHL league-leading total to 65 points.

Fort Wayne has won five in a row on the road and eight of its last nine games away from Memorial Coliseum.