Mike Cazzola’s strong defensive game is paying dividends at the offensive end of the ice this season. The rookie forward has been a dependable option for coach Gary Graham of the Fort Wayne Komets through the first 26 games of the ECHL season. Cazzola was averaging just under a point per game before this past weekend’s outburst, where he tallied nine points in three games.

The Komets dismantled the Orlando Solar Bears Sunday afternoon and Cazzola’s performance was nothing short of outstanding. The Komets trailed 1-0 at the halfway point of the game, before Cazzola set up teammate Gabriel Desjardins and scored twice. Cazzola’s second marker of the night was a highlight reel wrist shot on a 2-on-1 that was labelled for the top corner.

With a 4-1 lead heading to the third, Cazzola notched his third of the night. It was the first hattrick by a Komet this season and he managed all three goals in less than a twelve-minute span. Cazzola wasn’t finished there. Late in the third period, he made a blind spin-o-rama pass to teammate Kyle Thomas who finished off one of the nicest goals this year in the ECHL.

Mike finished the night with three goals and two assists, as the Komets skated to a 7-1 victory over the division leading Solar Bears. He was named first star for the third time this season and now sits in the Top 20 for points among all players in the ECHL (2nd amongst rookies). It won’t be long before the American Hockey League takes notice.

Check out the highlights at www.echl.com (Game played on Sunday December 18th).

Click here for the box score