Things were so bad for the Komets on Thursday night, the Toledo Walleye had better shooting lanes to the net during the game than they did in warm-ups.
Playing in front of 6,667 disgruntled Memorial Coliseum fans, the Walleye torched the Komets with four second-period goals on their way to a 5-2 win. Almost every one of Toledo's 39 shots on goal came from within the faceoff dots and the net as the Komets' defense was obliterated. The Walleye penetrated the slot at will and never paid the price to get there.
After watching the Komets attempt only five shots on goal during the first period, including four from the defensemen, Komets management members figured they might as well try a few shots. After all, Fort Wayne is 6-8 at home.
``I'm tired of the play at home,'' Komets president Michael Franke said. ``There's a lack of pride and effort, and something has to change soon. That's not Komet hockey.''
Komets General Manager David Franke was more blunt.
``Our effort stinks,'' he said. ``We're losing the battles in the corners and all over the ice. I'm certainly not satisfied. Where's the pride, the effort and the commitment? If this doesn't change then we're going to have to make some player changes. We're not going to put up with this much longer. It's inexcusable to play this way at home.''
The Komets tried only four shots on Toledo goaltender Kent Simpson during the first period, and four of those came from the defensemen. The Komets had only 14 shots through two periods, and four of those came during a late second-period power play where Garrett Klotz scored off a rebound from a Tyler Butler point shot.
Toledo was always under control and in control of the game. The Komets never looked like they were in the game, even after Josh Brittain scored a power-play goal early in the third period to cut the Walleye lead to 4-2. Toledo answered soon after as Max Campbell scored his third goal of the game.
Some of the Toledo scores looked easy, too. Fort Wayne defensemen Brent Henley and Daniel Maggio tried to control the puck instead of the man in front of the Komets' net, kicked the puck around and it squirted right to Kyle Rogers for an easy goal. Rogers scored again off a faceoff less than four minutes later, once more avoiding Henley and Maggio.
After Maggio and Henley were on the ice for all four second-period goals against, including two on the power play, Komets coach Al Sims split them up for the first time this season during the third period.
``I thought in the third period Hens playing with (Ryan Hegarty), and Maggio with (Dan) Nycholat looked all right,'' Sims said. ``Maybe they need to be split up for a while just to change it up and give a different look and get them fired up as well.''
As bad as the Komets were defensively, the lack of any offensive aggression might have been worse. Many of the forwards didn't seem interested in battling for the puck or shooting on net. There were lots of stick checks but very few to the body as the Komets didn't skate, check or play hard. It was a horrible way to start a stretch of 15 games in 24 days.
``If they don't want to play here, all they have to do is let me know and we'll accommodate them,'' David Franke said.
Icing the puck
David Franke said center Colin Chaulk did have a small staph infection in his right foot, but it was not Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. Franke said Chaulk is probably about two weeks from returning to the lineup... Defenseman Tim Priamo did report to Fort Wayne but decided after practicing that he wanted to return to school instead of resuming his playing career, Franke said.