KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Enough things went wrong Saturday night that the Fort Wayne Komets couldn’t do anything right.
The Komets lost their five-game winning streak with a 6-2 loss at Wings Stadium. Fort Wayne started hard, but the players’ legs seemed to die after Kalamazoo scored first. Darren Archibald’s shot trickled through the legs of goaltender Charlie Effinger and slid about 10 feet into the net.
The Komets rallied to tie on Stephon Thorne’s goal off a Brandon Marino pass, but a Fort Wayne turnover deep in the Komets’ zone led to a Kory Karlander shot before Effinger could react.
While his teammates looked lax early, Effinger recovered enough to keep them in the game with acrobatic saves. Sometimes he simply got no help. Though the Komets cut the margin to 3-2 on rookie Matt Firman’s breakaway, the actual game felt like a 5-2 Fort Wayne disadvantage.
It soon was.
After the Komets struggled to get out of their own zone for about seven minutes, the Wings scored again, or rather, Komets’ captain Colin Chaulk did, shooting top shelf into his own net as he tried to clear a rebound. Then the Wings’ Eric Kattelus scored on a long slap show when Komets’ defenseman Tyler Butler got caught on the heals of his skates, thus also screening Effinger.
Instead of pulling Effinger, Sims kept him in goal, and Effinger stopped a 2-on-0 Kalamazoo breakaway or the score could have been much worse. Four of the Kalamazoo goals probably deserved assists from Fort Wayne players.
Even when the Komets got the puck, they were usually going the wrong way and had trouble getting out of their own zone. Usually, this season and especially on the road, the Komets have been able to flip the momentum sometime and come back to win, but there was no chance Saturday night.
The loss didn’t cost the Komets any position in the ECHL North Division standings. Their 7-3-1 record is still one point behind Cincinnati which lost 5-3 at Greenville.
The Komets are off until Friday when they host Toledo to start a three-game home stretch. They play four of their next five games at Memorial Coliseum before starting a five-game road swing.