Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ECHL wasn’t able to crown a champion in 2020, however, that wasn’t the case this season. On Friday, the Fort Wayne Komets beat the South Carolina Stingrays 2-1 in the fourth game of the Kelly Cup Finals to win the series 3-1 at the Memorial Coliseum. In doing so, they claimed their first Kelly Cup Championship in franchise history.
Friday night’s game opened with a scoreless first period, despite both teams combining for 21 shots on goal. Things would pick up in the second frame when Komets forward Stephen Harper scored his first of two goals on the night, beating Hunter Shepard at 8:16 mark.
Harper found the back of the net again with just five minutes left, which doubled Fort Wayne’s lead, putting them up ahead 2-0. Being the offensive leader, his second of the night was his sixth goal of the playoffs. South Carolina would respond just three minutes later, as Justin Florek brought the Stingrays within one. Cutting the deficit in half, the goal was assisted by Andrew Cherniwchan and Max Gottlieb.
The third period was full of chances for both sides respectively, but it would be Komets goaltender Dylan Ferguson who would stand on his head, keeping the puck out in front of him, while his team shut down the Stingrays defensively. In the end, South Carolina couldn’t find a late equalizer to even the score and Fort Wayne would hold on to win their first Kelly Cup Championship. Ferguson made 26 saves in the win, while Shepard made 23 in a losing effort.
Komets’ forward Stephen Harper was named recipient of the June M. Kelly Playoffs Most Valuable Player Award. Harper, who scored two goals in the Game 4 victory, shared the postseason lead with 13 points and was tied for second in the league with six goals.
I just wanted to take a minute to say thank you to everyone at The Puck Authority for giving me a shot. I recently, a couple months ago, decided to make the decision to leave the website at the conclusion of the season, as I chase my dream of being a sports journalist for a bigger company or organization. I want to thank Armand Klisivitch, Justin Levine, David Ciss and Reagan McCoy for giving me a chance to write about a sport that’s been a part of my life since I was five-years-old. These people are life long friends and what they do for this site is amazing and everyone should follow The Puck Authority, as it’s one of the best hockey sites out there. I wish them the best, and as for me, I’ll still be around, writing for FanSided’s Bleedin’ Blue and covering the Arizona Coyotes for The Hockey Writers if anyone wants to check out my stuff. It’s been a fun ride, but my time with TPA has come to an end, as I ride off into the sunset. Thank you again Armand, Justin, David and Reagan, along with the South Carolina Stingrays and Jared Shafran for everything this season. Best of luck going forward…