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Komets notes: Gordie Howe would be proud of Shawn Szydlowski

News-Sentinel photo by Blake Sebring 

Besides leading the Komets in scoring this season, forward Shawn Szydlowski also has become one of the team's most-active fighters.
News-Sentinel photo by Blake Sebring Besides leading the Komets in scoring this season, forward Shawn Szydlowski also has become one of the team's most-active fighters.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Forwards game has had plenty of punch this season

Friday, December 30, 2016 10:53 PM
He only did it twice during his 32-year career, but a goal, an assist and a fight in a game has always been known as a "Gordie Howe hat trick." Maybe they should consider renaming it for another Detroit player, Shawn Szydlowski.

The Komets winger did it Tuesday night against Indy and Thursday against Cincinnati, already the fourth and fifth time he's done it this season, and the 11th time he's done during his four-year career as a Komet.

Szydlowski has been on a tear with 11 goals and 28 points over his last 13 games, all in December. He's now second in the ECHL scoring race with 45 points, eight behind Allen's Chad Costello who has played six more games.

Might be a record

There's probably no way to be sure, but it's likely Tuesday's game might be the first where a Komet and an opponent scored four goals in the same game as Szydlowski and Indy's Josh Shalla did it. It hasn't happened since the Franke brothers bought the Komets in 1990.

The Komets individual record for goals in a game is five held by Eddie Long, Norm Waslawski, Ron Leef, Rod Willard and Szydlowski (set last year), and the record for most goals against is six by Muskegon's Bryan McLay set in 1961.

Both Szydlowski and Shalla also had natural hat tricks with three consecutive goals. With 17 goals and 27 points in 27 games, Shalla kills Fort Wayne, but he's bounced around to Toledo, Cincinnati, Wheeling and now Indy because he's horribly inconsistent defensively.

Komets need some resolution

New Year's Eve has always been good to the Komets, but this might be a huge test. The Toledo Walleye have the ECHL's best record and hold first place in the Central Division by eight points over the Komets, who have had a pretty good December with an 9-3-1 mark to improve to 18-8-3. Despite that, they have lost ground on the Walleye, who have been dominating, going 23-5-1 overall and 14-3-0 away from home. It's the best start ever by a Toledo pro hockey team, and one of the best in ECHL history.

Over 60 years of playing on New Year's Eve, the Komets are 41-14-5, including going 14-1-1 since 2002. They have drawn more than 9,000 fans on New Year's Eve 15 times over the 16 years since the Memorial Coliseum was renovated, including nine times over 10,000.

Despite the Komets' overall record, Toledo teams are 6-4 in Fort Wayne on New Year's Eve, last winning in 2012.

Welcome back

After winning five championships with the Komets, Coach Al Sims will have his retirement banner ceremony on March 25, but he was back in Fort Wayne on Thursday night to watch his son Jordan play for Cincinnati.

"I told my wife this is the first time I've sat in the stands in forever to watch a hockey game," Sims said. "It's crazy. I'll be wanting to pace, and I have to stay seated."

It might be more relaxing next time, though it will be another game against Cincinnati. Sims is coaching a prep team in Toronto.

There's a good reason

The Komets always schedule two or three home games between Christmas and New Year's Day, and they usually do pretty well, going 20-5-4 over the last 11 seasons. Two main reasons why the Komets schedule those games are they know all schools are out on break, including college kids, and they'd rather play three games this week than play three games on Sundays or Wednesdays in February and March. These games always draw better, too.

Coming up fast

The ECHL All-Star Classic is Jan. 18 in Glens Falls, N.Y., which means the league has some deadlines coming up to name the players and coaches. The starters will be announced Tuesday, the rest of the team Wednesday and the coaches on Thursday. The officials, trainer and equipment manager will be named Friday.

The Adirondack Thunder will take on the ECHL All-Stars in a non-traditional format featuring 5-on-5, 4-on-4, and 3-on-3 play, as well as skills competitions for puck relay, hardest shot and fastest skate. The game will be broadcast on the NHL Network.

Icing the puck

Over his last 12 games, Mike Cazzola has scored nine goals and 17 points to pull within one point of Toledo's Tylor Spink for the league lead among rookies with 32 points... Bobby Shea got called up to Rochester which is coached by former Komet Danny Lambert... With a win tonight, the Komets can post their best month since December 2011... Any time the Komets score at least four goals, they are 15-1-2... Kyle Thomas has already matched last season's career-high 15 goals and is on a seven-game point-scoring streak... A lot of former Komets moved on Friday as Josh Brittain was released by Norfolk, Brock Montgomery was traded to Indy and Brett Perlini was dealt to Wichita.

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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