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Komets hockey: K's defense falters in 5-4 defeat

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Sunday, November 02, 2008 08:48 am
The Fort Wayne Komets tried to win a run-and-gun game with the Bloomington PrairieThunder on Saturday night and got nailed with their first loss of the season. The Komets blew a 4-3 lead early in the third period and lost 5-4 on the road.Despite the loss, the 5-1 Komets maintain a two-point lead on Bloomington for first place in the International Hockey League. The Komets play at Muskegon at 7 p.m. Friday before coming home to take on the PrairieThunder at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Last night's game was close throughout as the Komets took a 1-0 lead on David Hukalo's first-period, but the PrairieThunder tied it on the first of two Jon Booras goals. Rookie Rick Varone scored his fourth to give Fort Wayne a 2-1 lead, but Booras tied it again before Brent Clarke scored to give Bloomington its first lead. Mathieu Curadeau scored his first of two goals to tie the score 3-3 after two periods.

Curadeau scored his ninth of the season to give the Komets an early 4-3 lead in the third period, but the Fort Wayne defense collapsed. Don Parsons scored at 6:19 and Leo Thomas at 8:48 to give Bloomington the final margin. The Komets had a last chance on a power play in the final minute after Bloomington's Voldy Dashko was called for tripping with 57 seconds left. With goaltender Nick Boucher pulled, Konstantin Shafranov got a shot on goal with 15 seconds left, but the Komets could not get to the rebound for another try.

"Both teams played hard, but we lost the game in the second period," Komets coach Al Sims said. "We had four or five empty nets that somehow (Bloomington goalie Scott) Fankhouser made the save on. We had great chances with the goalie pulled, but couldn't put it past him. You know you're not going to go undefeated all year. We gave the effort but just didn't get the results."

Bloomington veteran Parsons scored the 662nd goal of his minor-league career to pull within one of former Komet Scott Gruhl for second place on the all-time minor league goal-scoring list. Kevin Kerr holds first place with 677 goals.

Fort Wayne out-shot Bloomington 36-22, and both teams were 2 of 8 on the power play.

The Komets were playing without leading scorer and assistant coach Colin Chaulk, who was home taking care of ill family members. Chaulk leads the team with 13 points and a plus-10 ranking in five games. He also came into the game tied with Flint's John DiPace and Greg Bullock for the IHL lead, and Chaulk leds all players in plus-minus.

To fill in for Chaulk, Sims moved Varone to center between Shafranov and Maxime Gravelle, kept the line of Curadeau, P.C. Drouin and Hukalo together and used newcomer Mike Field at center between Brad MacMillan and Olivier Legault. Besides Curadeau's two goals, Drouin had three assists and Hukalo had a goal and an assist.

"Both teams played hard, and you're not always going to get the result you want," Sims said. "I was proud of the guys' effort."

The Komets were already playing without injured forward Dominic Osman and defenseman Jake Pence, who hopes to return next week after missing 30 days with a rib injury. Defenseman Brandon Warner was hoping to be back in the lineup already from a sprained wrist, but he aggravated the injury this week in practice while attempting a slap shot. A frustrated Warner said after Friday's night's game that he doesn't know what the timetable is for his return to action.

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