ELMIRA, N.Y. - Neil Conway was tested with 36 shots in his first ECHL start and turned away 35 of them to lead the Jackals to a 4-1 win over the Fort Wayne Komets on Sunday evening at First Arena. The win improved Elmira to 13-22-4 on the year.
Click here for tonight's box score.
Click here for tonight's postgame comments.
After falling behind the Komets in the first two games of this weekend's three-in-three the Jackals flipped the script. With some open ice ahead of him on the right wing Mike Vaskivuo launched a wrist shot toward the Fort Wayne goal. The shot appeared to change direction and dodged its way past goalie Andrey Makarov 2:35 into the game for a 1-0 Jackals lead. Vaskivuo followed that with a power play goal at 10:50 to double the Jackals' lead. He didn't have to work as hard for his second goal as Kyle Bushee's centering pass banked off of Vaskivuo's skate and in. The goal was his 10th of the year and gave Vaskivuo two two-goal games with the Jackals. Despite Fort Wayne netting a 15-5 shot advantage in the first, Elmira took a 2-0 lead into the dressing room.
After a relatively tame first ten minutes of the second period, the teams opened up the floodgates just past the midway point. Working off of a 2-on-1, Fort Wayne's Chris Auger chipped a shot over Conway's blocker and put his club within one of the Jackals. Elmira wasted little time responding. Vaskivuo netted his third point of the night when he set up Jake Trask's first ECHL goal at 14:14, and then Rob Bellamy swatted home his 12th goal less than a minute later to build Elmira's lead to three. The combined three-goal furry took place in the span of 2:17.
Fort Wayne sent 28 shots on Conway between the first and second periods, but Elmira's defense clamped down and provided calmer waters in the third. The Komets managed just eight shots against Conway and he denied each one to preserve Elmira's advantage. The Jackals had a golden chance to extend the lead early in the third when Matt Carter was tagged with a double minor for high-sticking. Fort Wayne's second-ranked penalty kill held the Jackals without a shot over the four minutes.
Combined with his relief work on Saturday night, Conway allowed two goals in 100 minutes of work this weekend against the Komets. His 35-save effort on Sunday gave him a 1-0-0 record. Elmira ended the night 1-for-3 on the power play and 5-for-5 on the penalty kill.
Mark your calendars! The Jackals return to home ice on Wednesday, January 29 to take on the Kalamazoo Wings. It's a Willowcreek Wednesday where some lucky fans will compete at first intermission to win free golf from Willowcreek Golf Club. Don't forget that groups of 10 or more who book in advance receive discounts off the box office price and preferred seating based on availability. Call 607-734-7825 to get your group outing booked.
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UPCOMING FIRST ARENA EVENTS:
Wednesday, January 29: Elmira Jackals vs. Kalamazoo, 7:05 p.m. Willowcreek Wednesday. You could be the lucky fan to play for free golf at intermission! Click herefor tickets.
Friday, January 31: Wine on Ice, 6:00 p.m. Click here for tickets.
Saturday, February 1: Wine on Ice, 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. sessions. Click here for tickets.
Wednesday, February 12: Elmira Jackals vs. Reading, 7:05 p.m. Willowcreek Wednesday. You could be the lucky fan to play for free golf at intermission! Click here for tickets.