The Fort Wayne Komets' youngsters showed plenty of heart but maybe not enough skill during their exhibition game Saturday night against the Evansville IceMen.
The IceMen played a handful of their regular players while the Komets stuck with their younger players and lost 6-3 before an estimated 1,500 Memorial Coliseum fans. The teams meet again at 5 p.m. in the last exhibition game before the regular season starts Friday.
The Komets' lineup will be almost completely different this afternoon, as coach Al Sims said he plans to play most of his regulars except his goaltenders. Fort Wayne-native Larkin Saalfrank will get his chance to play in goal.
Evansville led 5-2 after two periods, and the Komets kids fought back, literally. There were four fights during the second period, but the Komets lacked the offensive skill to close the gap on the scoreboard.
Besides the fights, the game was filled with penalties as referee Andy Thackaberry made sure both squads had plenty of practice time on their power-play units. It's obvious ECHL referees are going to call penalties to the tighter standards of the AHL and the NHL so there will be a continual parade to the penalty box until the players adjust.
Cory Park and Kyle Atkins scored goals for the Komets during the second period or the game might have gotten completely out of hand. Linus Werneman scored a power-play goal in the third period to cut the margin to 5-3, but Evansville scored a minute later to finish the goals.
The Komets also received word that goaltender Kenny Reiter was sent to Fort Wayne by Bridgeport of the AHL. That means all seven Komets who participated in AHL training camps have been sent down, and six are already in Fort Wayne.
There are still 21 forwards, eight forwards and five goaltenders on the roster, which will likely be trimmed Monday. ECHL teams are not required to have their 20-man active rosters into the league until 3 p.m. Thursday.