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Komets end busy stretch with road loss

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Komets at Evansville
Face-off: 8:15 p.m. Saturday
Radio: WOWO, 1190-AM

Fort Wayne limping into all-star break

Sunday, January 20, 2013 - 6:35 pm

KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- About 15 minutes after Saturday's 3-2 loss to Kalamazoo, half the Komets were sitting in their locker room stalls with thousand-yard stares trying to figure out how they lost. The other half were joking around and making plans for their ECHL All-Star break.

The Komets finished their hardest stretch of the schedule, 15 games in 24 days, with an 8-7 mark, but they were 8-5 heading into Friday's game. Both losses went the same way, with the Komets being unable to match their opponents' intensity.

``They came out hard and I don't think we expected that,'' defenseman Daniel Maggio said. ``We have to come out with more of a spark in the first period, and we didn't do that again tonight. That determined the outcome of the game.''

All the goals were scored in the first period as the Komets fell behind 3-1 early, with, frankly, some stupid plays that left Fort Wayne goaltender Marco Cousineau defenseless. With rookie defenseman Scott Kishel sitting out a holding penalty, Effinger was under seige when he slipped getting back into his crease. The Wings' Sam Ftorek made it 2-0.

The Komets rallied on a power-play goal by Nick Wheeler with a stack of bodies in front of Kalamazoo goaltender Joel Martin, but then Luca Caputi took a tripping penalty at center ice four seconds later. Kalamazoo's Aaron Clarke blasted home a goal on the power play.

Fort Wayne got that one back when John Dunbar surprised Martin with 55 seconds left to give the Komets a chance they probably didn't deserve with their effort.

``We were just complacent in the first, and that was the difference,'' Komets forward Kaleigh Schrock said. ``The last two periods we played the way we wanted to play. We were all over them. It was just a physical game and it was a fun game to play.''

But it was fruitless. The Komets out-shot the Wings 17-8 in the second period and had three power-play attempts in the third, but they couldn't crack Martin who was able to see every shot coming. The Komets settled for lots of long shots and were rarely able to muscle in front of the Wings' goal for a rebound or a better chance.

The game was played on yellow ice as a promotion to raise money for the local Ronald McDonald's House. Players needed to adjust their eyesite as well as their skating ability due to poor conditions. The puck would never sit flat, and the players often looked unsteady on their skates, like kids playing in their socks on a freshly waxed kitchen floor.

``It was kind of a tough adjustment to get used to the yellow ice, and it was kind of digging up a little bit,'' forward Matt Firman said. ``It's no excuse. After you get through the first two periods, you know what it takes to stay on your feet and do all the right things. You learn what you have to do and learn how to use the ice you were given.''

The Komets will practice this morning before taking the next three days off for the all-star break. Their next game is Saturday in Evansville.