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Komets notes: Fort Wayne's playoff success has been remarkable

Komets forward Taylor Crunk finished fourth among ECHL rookies with120 penalty minutes and 14 major penalties. (Photo by Blake Sebring of The News-Sentinel)
Komets forward Taylor Crunk finished fourth among ECHL rookies with120 penalty minutes and 14 major penalties. (Photo by Blake Sebring of The News-Sentinel)
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Also, two refs, strange format, and where they finished

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 02:26 pm

So just how hard is it to win consistently in the playoffs season after season?

Tremendously difficult it seems because it just doesn't happen very often, especially in the ECHL. The Komets are the only ECHL team to win at least one playoff round each of the last three seasons. If they win a round this year, they'll match Idaho from 2011 to 2014 as the last team to win a round four years in a row. Cincinnati also won at least one round from 2007 to 2010. Alaska won at least one round for five years from 2004 to 2009.

And that's it.

Which is another reason to respect Allen's championship run so much. The Americans won two straight Central Hockey League titles before winning the last two ECHL Kelly Cups.

If the Americans can make it to the finals again this season, they'll face someone other than last year's other finalist, Wheeling, which did not qualify for the playoffs this season. The league has never had the same teams meeting in back-to-back finals. In fact, before the Americans did it last year, Florida in 2004 and 2005 was the last team to make it to back-to-back finals. The Everblades lost both times.

Allen is the first team to win back-to-back ECHL titles since Toledo in 1993 and 1994.

During the last nine years that the Komets have qualified for the playoffs in three different leagues, winning at least one round every year and 15 series. They have qualified for the playoffs 14 times in the last 15 years, and have won at least one round 12 times, winning 21 series and five championships.

The Komets have won at least one road game in 16 of their last 18 playoff series back to 2007. Only four of those series went to seven games, meaning the Komets have usually won road games early in series.

Now that's consistent.

Call it, ref!

One thing that is dramatically different compared to the regular season is that the ECHL uses two referees. The league started using two refs in the postseason last year which is designed to clean up infractions behind the play.

Because of the costs, there's no chance the ECHL will use a two-referee system in the regular season any time in the near future.

Why this format?

To help with travel costs, the ECHL prefers to use a 2-3-2 format for the playoffs, depending on travel distance and building availability. Partly because the home-ice advantage hasn't meant as much in hockey as other sports, many fans believe the 2-3-2 format helps the lower-seeded team in a best-of-seven series. That hasn't necessarily been true in playoff series involving the Komets.

Oddly, nine of the Komets' last 10 playoff series have used the 2-3-2 format, and the higher-seeded team has won six times, and the Komets have won three times as the lower-seeded team in the format. Throughout their history, the Komets have played 20 playoff series with a 2-3-2 format and have won 14 of them. They are 4-4 as the lower-seeded team and 10-2 as the higher seed.

Help, Mapquest!

So maybe you're having a hard time finding Quad City on an atlas. The cities involved are Bettendorf and Davenport in Iowa, and Rock Island and Moline in Illinois. They are separated by the Mississippi River, and the Mallards play in the 5,100-seat iWireless Center in Moline.

What are the odds?

Komets are 44-12 in playoff series where they win the first game. They are 34-5 when they win the first game at home and 10-7 when they win the first game on the road. Komets are 13-34 in series where they lose the first game. They are 5-8 when they lose the first game at home and 8-26 when they lose the first game on the road.

Checking the stats

Looking at the final ECHL regular-season statistics and where the Komets ranked, Mike Cazzola was 13th among the top scorers and tied with Toledo's Tylor Spink for the rookie lead with 76 points... Kyle Thomas was 19th overall with 69 points... Shawn Szydlowski was tied for the league lead with four short-handed goals.. Cody Sol was third in plus-minus at plus-39... Garrett Bartus was eighth among goaltenders with a 2.68 goals against average. Pat Nagle would have been higher at 2.23 but didn't play enough games to qualify... Bartus was third with four shutouts... Cazzola was second among rookies with 30 goals and third with 46 assists... Taylor Crunk was fourth among rookies with 120 penalty minutes and third with 14 major penalties... Cazzola was second among rookies at plus-32... Jason Binkley was 11th among defensemen with 44 points.

Icing the puck

The Komets led the ECHL with an average attendance of 7,568. That's just the 10th time in Fort Wayne's 65-year history the Komets have averaged more than 7,500 fans... Though the Komets finished second to Toledo for the Central Division title, their 45-19-8 record was better than last year's 40-23-9 mark... The home teams will switch back to wearing white uniforms during the playoffs... Don't forget that all Sunday playoff games start at 6 p.m., not 5 p.m. as in the regular season. There won't be any in the first round... Remember to wear orange!

For more on the Komets, follow Blake Sebring on Twitter at @blakesebring, at his blog tailingthekomets.com and on Facebook at Blake Sebring.


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