Jackals top Komets, earn playoff berth
ELMIRA, N.Y. - The Elmira Jackals, with the help of a Kalamazoo Wings regulation loss, clinched its sixth consecutive Kelly Cup playoff berth thanks to a 5-2 win over the Fort Wayne Komets on Friday night at First Arena. Elmira's record improved to 37-23-7 with the win.
Everyone at First Arena was feeling a bit of deja vu as the Jackals scored five first period goals for the second game in a row. Each goal came from a different skater as Elmira blitzed the Komets who were in Elmira for the first time since January of 2007. Kyle Bushee, who scored a pair of goals when Elmira visited Fort Wayne in December, opened the barrage at 3:04 with a wrist shot past goalie Jeff Deslauriers. On the very next shift Eric Delong, who was in his first pro game after finishing his collegiate career at Sacred Heart, started an odd-man rush with a feed from center to Jordon Southorn who threaded a pass to Chaz Johnson on the doorstep. The veteran winger slammed home his 11th of the season 20 seconds after Bushee's goal.
A slight lull preceded Elmira's next outburst which produced three goals in a span of 5:30. Jordan Pietrus sprung Andrew Rowe on a shorthanded breakaway for a goal at 10:10, then Rowe took a turn to set up Steven Kaunisto's second as a Jackal 1:18 later while the teams were skating 4-on-4. The dust settled at 15:40 when Matt Tassone beat Deslauriers from point blank, with Elmira on the power play, at 15:40 for his first as a Jackal. Maxime Clermont swatted away 10 Fort Wayne shots in the first to ensure Elmira's lead held firm.
In the second period the Komets came out a different looking team and outshot the Jackals 12-6. Fort Wayne was able to sneak one past Clermont early on when Brandon Marino created a rebound chance for Matt Syroczynski on a 3-on-2 rush. The veteran winger slipped the rebound through Clermont's pads to put Fort Wayne on the board 7:46 into the second. The real action in the period, though, came when Kevin Harvey and Matt Gagnon traded toe-to-toe haymakers in a fight with 10:57 gone by. Neither team turned the energy from that scrap into a score and the Jackals went into the third up by four.
The final frame saw 12 more shots sent Clermont's way with the Komets able to claw one goal closer to the Jackals. Gagnon took a shot from the point, just as a penalty to Rob Bellamy expired, and Matt Firman deflected over the glove of Clermont for his 14th of the season. The goal, though, came with too little time remaining on the clock (3:56) for the Komets to put together any real comeback attempt. The Jackals successfully ran off the remainder of the clock and claimed their first win of the season against the Komets.
Clermont earned his 19th victory with 32 saves. The Jackals ended the night 1-for-4 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
Mark your calendars! The Jackals are back on First Arena ice on Saturday, March 23, 2013 to take on the Fort Wayne Komets at 7:05 p.m. The Jackals will be giving away the second of three sets of 2012-13 trading cards! Groups of 10 or more are eligible for discounted tickets and preferred seating based on availability. Call 607-734-7825 to book your group outing. Pro-rated season ticket packages are on sale, as well. Season tickets offer the best value for Jackals fans.