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Komets win, strengthen playoff hopes

And now the breathing room is a little … roomier.

Shawn Szydlowski unknotted it with 6:18 to play Friday night, Chris Auger and Aaron Clarke added goals in the final minute, and the Komets once again brushed aside the Toledo Walleye, 4-1, at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio.

The win was the Komets sixth straight this season over Toledo (21-42-5), running their record to 6-0-1 against the Walleye. More importantly, it stretched their lead over idle Florida in the battle for the eighth and last playoff spot to four points with four games to play.

The Komets are now 33-23-7-5 and have 78 points to Florida's 74.

They are now three points back of Greenville for seventh.

In Toledo, Brandon Marino scored at 7:11 of the first and Maxim Shalunov answered for the Walleye at 19:25, and the 1-1 tie held up until Szydlowski's goal off assists from Scott Fleming and Auger. Auger then planted an empty-netter with a minute to play, his 27th goal of the season, and Clarke sealed it with three seconds left with his 24th.

Both Szydlowski's goal and Clarke's goal came on the power play -- making the Komets, who came into the night 19th out of 21 ECHL teams in the power play, 2-for-2 on the night.

Justin A. Cohn, pro sports coordinator for The Journal Gazette, has been covering the Fort Wayne Komets since 1997. His reporting includes game stories from home and away, features about the players and personalities associated with the Komets, plus coverage of issues affecting hockey at all levels. A native of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Cohn graduated from Emory University in Atlanta. He can be reached at 260-461-8429 or by email at jcohn@jg.net.

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