AP NEWS

Nagle gets 21 saves in 1-0 K’s victory

February 18, 2017 GMT

Mike Embach had a wild first period, in which he missed an open net, got a controversial penalty and then used great hand-eye coordination to score. Goaltender Pat Nagle did the rest of the work, completing a 21-save shutout in the Komets’ 1-0 victory tonight over the Kalamazoo Wings.

The Komets (29-15-5) improved to 5-4-0 this season against the Wings (24-22-4).

Kalamazoo was scoreless on six power plays. Fort Wayne was 0 for 3.

It was the Komets’ fifth shutout of the season and the first for Nagle, who missed 37 straight games because of a high ankle sprain. The game in which he got injured, a 5-0 victory over defending-champion Allen, saw Nagle share the shutout with Eric Hartzell, who had 24 of the 27 saves.

Hartzell had a 31-save shutout Nov. 4 against Indy and Garrett Bartus had two shutouts – 23 saves against Cincinnati on Dec. 7 and 28 saves against Elmira on Jan. 25.

Last season, Nagle led the ECHL with five shutouts and had another two in the playoffs. In his three seasons with the Komets, he has nine shutouts, not including the one he shared with Hartzell.

The Komets play host to the Brampton Beast at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, before which they will retire the No. 91 of longtime captain Colin Chaulk, who is now Brampton’s coach. And on Sunday, the Komets play at Cincinnati at 3 p.m.

The ECHL fined Mason Baptista an undisclosed amount of money for kicking the glove of goalie Nick Riopel in Tuesday’s 3-1 loss at Kalamazoo, Michigan. Baptista received a match penalty for the incident.

Tonight was the third straight game between the teams, including the Komets’ 5-3 victory Sunday in Kalamazoo, and Riopel had to come up big just 3:04 into the game tonight by stopping a 10-foot Trevor Cheek shot and then falling backward into the net while keeping the puck out.

Just after a fight between Fort Wayne’s Taylor Crunk and Kalamazoo’s Tyler Biggs, Riopel stopped a 20-foot Mike Cazzola shot and Embach got the rebound, steered around the sprawled netminder to shoot at an open net and hit the left goalpost at 7:00.

(Video highlights from the game, including the fights, are above.)

The Wings got a 1:17-long 5-on-3 power play – Kyle Follmer had been penalized for hooking and Embach for slashing the goalie, which drew irate jeers from the 7,386 fans – but the Komets allowed only one shot and kept the game scoreless.

Embach completed his wacky first period by scoring; camped out in front of the net, he redirected Cody Sol’s blast, which came from the blue line, between the legs of Riopel at 19:34.

The second period was highlighted by a fight between Cheek and Kalamazoo’s Michael Trebish, a Riopel save of a 30-foot Brett Perlini shot through a crowd, and goals by both teams being disallowed. Josh Pitt’s goal for Kalamazoo was negated because the net was off its moorings and it was ruled that Baptista had scored by pushing the puck in with his hand.

Notes: According to KTVA, the ECHL’s Alaska Aces are considering ceasing operations after this season. The Aces won the Kelly Cup in 2014 but face a sagging Alaskan economy. An announcement could come next week. … The Komets played without captain/assistant coach Jamie Schaafsma a second straight game because of a hand injury. … They were also without Shawn Szydlowski (Cleveland of the American Hockey League), Kyle Thomas (Cleveland), Bobby Shea (Rochester), Kyle Flemington (coach’s decision) and Gabriel Beaupre, who has missed 37 straight games since being concussed Nov. 13. … The referee was Jeremy Tufts. … The game at Elmira, New York, with Reading was postponed because of poor ice conditions.

jcohn@jg.net