CINCINNATI – The Komets’ power play had been 0 for 13 coming into Friday night.
After looking no different in their first two power plays at U.S. Bank Arena, where they had trouble getting into the offensive zone and getting close-range scoring chances on the few times they did, the Komets finally got going on special teams in the second period of a 2-1 victory over the Cincinnati Cyclones in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Forward Mike Embach gave the power play life by blasting a slap shot from the left circle and watching it sail just underneath the crossbar.
Only Embach and Christian Ouellet beat goalie Rob Madore, who made 34 saves. Ouellet scored off a rebound with 7.1 seconds left.
We have a great shooter in (Embach) on this team, and it was a great feeling to get that power-play goal, said Ouellet, whose team was 1 for 4 on power plays. We needed to work harder to get that puck, be patient. And when you have a good chance to shoot the puck, we just need to put the puck in the net with a good screen. It was an important goal for us.
The Cyclones’ power play is similarly bad at 1 for 18 in the playoffs.
The Komets outshot the Cyclones 36-23. Dean Ouellet led the team with five shots and assisted on Embach’s goal.
We gave up way too many shot opportunities and when you get outshot that significantly, you can’t expect to win hockey games, Cyclones coach Ben Simon said.
Wanting Game 2
When the Komets won Game 1 of their last series 2-1, they wound up losing 4-2 in the next game. The Komets would like to get the road sweep this time around.
We’re happy, but it’s back at it tomorrow, goaltender Ben Meisner said. We’ll enjoy it right now, but the second we walk out these doors, it’s about getting ready for tomorrow.
We can’t always bank on winning games late like that. But it sure feels good to see guys get rewarded for all the hard work.
After tweaking his back in the 2-1 double-overtime victory over Reading on Sunday, forward Sy Nutkevitch couldn’t play for the Komets. He was replaced by forward Matt Carter, who is scoreless in three playoff games. Cincinnati is 1-3 at U.S. Bank Arena in the playoffs. Fort Wayne is 2-1 on the road. The Komets have won all five games here this season and are 6-1-2 against the Cyclones overall.