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K's dominated by Cincinnati

The Komets came into tonight without having lost to Cincinnati in regulation time.

That changed.

The Cyclones clinched a playoff berth with a 5-2 victory over the Komets (33-24-12), who finished the season series 5-1-2 against Cincinnati (39-22-7).

Before the game, the Komets waived defenseman Nathan Martine, who had seven assists in 55 games, and forward Mitch Bruijsten, who had one goal and two points in nine games.

The Komets had only one shot on goal in the first 9:10 of the first period, before a blistering Scott Fleming shot from the right circle was stopped by former NHL goalie Magnus Hellberg and got the pace going.

But it remained scoreless until there were 5.1 seconds remaining in the period; at the end of a 3-on-2 rush, Josh Shalla sent a cross-ice pass to Dan Eves, who blasted the puck into the top of the net.

In the second period, Cincinnati's Paul Crowder made it 2-0 at 17:12 when he got the rebound of a shot from the blue line and smacked it past goalie Ben Meisner during a power play because Shawn Szydlowski was penalized for tripping.

And with 54 seconds left in the period, the Cyclones' Byron Froese sent a pass from behind the net to Zach Budish, who slammed it in from short range for a 3-0 lead.

Komets defenseman Jordon Southorn scored with a 50-foot slapshot during a power play 3:02 into the third period, but it took the Cyclones only 27 seconds to answer. The puck caromed off the left boards and onto the stick of Budish, who was all alone in the slot to best Meisner for a 4-1 lead.

After a scrum for the puck in front of the Cincinnati net, Fort Wayne's Chris Auger chipped it in at 4:46.

Josh Birkholz added an empty net goal at 17:17 to make it 5-2.

Fort Wayne had been on a 3-0-1 run, including the thrilling 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the Cyclones on Wednesday, when Brandon Marino scored on a one-timer from the left circle during a power play.

Notes: The Komets are going to sign defenseman Steven Shamanski, a source confirmed, and he could play Sunday against Toledo. He had six goals and 16 points in 38 games as a senior this season with Providence. To be eligible to play in the postseason, players must participate in five regular-season games. For goalies, being the backup counts. Amateurs are except from the five-game rule, though.

For more on this game, read Sunday's Journal Gazette or return to www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m.

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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