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Kyle Thomas stays hot as Komets win in Kalamazoo

Kyle Thomas
Kyle Thomas
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Forward has moved into second place in ECHL scoring

Sunday, February 12, 2017 03:12 pm
The Fort Wayne Komets won the strangest game of the season Sunday in Kalamazoo. Kyle Thomas had a hat trick, a Gordie Howe hat trick (goal, assist and fight) and scored the game-winning goal. He also climbed into second place in the ECHL scoring race with 62 points. Though replay proved the calls were incorrect, two goals were waved off and another goal was the result of an incorrect penalty call.

Just like Saturday night in a 5-4 overtime loss at Cincinnati, the Komets went up 2-0 early on goals by Thomas and Jamie Schaafsma. Then Kalamazoo got a break. As Thomas was trying to skate between Wings defenders Blake Kessel and Eric Kattelus, the stick of Kattelus came up and poked under Kessel's visor and clipped Thomas, but referee Mike Sheehan called Thomas for the penalty. After the Wings scored a power-play goal, Thomas complained again and received an unsportsmanlike penalty.

There was another strange call at the start of the second period. After Fort Wayne goaltender Garrett Bartus stoned Kalamazoo's Kyle Blaney 1-on-1, Travis Ewanyk scored on a breakaway coming out of the penalty box. Then Kalamazoo's Justin Taylor's backhand hit the crossbar and then the far post, but Sheehan ruled it was a goal to cut the Fort Wayne lead to 3-2.

With 6:13 left in the third period, Thomas picked up a Schaafsma pass at center ice, cut through the Kalamazoo defense and tried a backhand from below the Kalamazoo goal line that bounced in off Wings goaltender Joel Martin.

The Komets thought they had the game wrapped up with 4:30 left when Mason Baptista beat two Kalamazoo defensemen to the net. Everyone lost sight of the puck which was already behind Martin, but Sheehan ruled Baptista had kicked the puck in on an unnecessary second effort. Then Komets' defenseman Cody Sol was called for roughing on an icing play when he took Kalamazoo's Justin Breton into the boards, but the Wings' Tanner Sorenson knocked Fort Wayne defenseman Dan Milan to the ice during the power play to get a roughing call and end the threat. Thomas scored an empty-net goal with 1:10 remaining.

Thomas scored nine points on the weekend, and Schaafsma had a goal and three assists in Sunday to give him seven points on the weekend. Bartus made 24 saves to improve to 15-5-0. Despite making 35 saves, Kalamazoo goaltender Joel Martin lost his seventh consecutive game to the Komets.

The Komets played without center Mike Cazzola and forward Garrett Thompson because of injuries and lost center Travis Ewanyk for the third period after he blocked a shot on a second-period Kalamazoo power play.

The win was also impressive because Kalamazoo came in with a 12-3-1 record over its last 16 games. The Komets are 6-1-1 over their last eight games.

The Komets and Wings meet again Tuesday in Kalamazoo and Friday in Fort Wayne to end their season series.


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