AP NEWS

Faceoffs key for K’s

April 18, 2019 GMT

A big part of the Komets’ ability to win Game 3 of the Central Division semifinals : 2-1 in overtime Wednesday : was their ability to win more faceoffs than they had earlier in the series with the Toledo Walleye.

Not only did a faceoff victory set up Shawn Szydlowski’s game-tying goal with 22 seconds left in regulation, but it was a big part of the Komets killing off all four of Toledo’s power plays after the Walleye had netted four power-play goals in Game 2.

“It was great for the guys to get the (penalty kill) going,” Fort Wayne coach Gary Graham said. “If you win the first draw on the PK, your rate of success is so much higher than when you lose it. I give a lot of credit to the guys : the centers (Jamie Schaafsma, Justin Hodgman and Marco Roy) did a much better job in the faceoff dot : and that’s a big thing for us right now in terms of special teams.”

Toledo still leads the best-of-7 series 2-1 heading into the 8 p.m. game Friday at Memorial Coliseum.

-- Still no word on Phelix Martineau and if he’ll be able to return to the Komets for this series. While the official word is that it’s an “upper-body injury,” multiple people have told me that’s translation for concussion in this case. Martineau suffered the injury in the penultimate game of the regular season with Laval of the American Hockey League and he cannot be sent down until he’s healthy.

-- Good spot from the Komets on this one: Jacksonville’s mayor is growing a playoff beard to support the Icemen. Where’s Mayor Tom Henry on this one in Fort Wayne?

-- Cincinnati leads Kalamazoo 2-1 in the other Central Division playoff series.

jcohn@jg.net