With two minutes left in the second period of the 30th home game of the season, Fort Wayne Komets fans finally started booing Saturday night.
The displeasure was justified, as the Komets were getting blown out by the Florida Everblades for the second night in a row, this time by a 6-2 score. It was 5-0 early in the third period, as the Everblades looked like an NHL team.
Games like the Fort Wayne Komets played this weekend are why every fan is so frustrated with this season.
The team had four days to practice and concentrate on the Everblades yet came out with totally uninspired efforts in both nights. During the biggest games of the season, the Komets' effort was no better than any other home effort over the last three months. There was no difference in intensity, physical play or preparation.
Why do other teams who have just as many new players coming in seem to play a more disciplined game?
Why do the Komets seem to always get off to slow starts at home?
Why does it seem like every opponent knows exactly what the Komets are going to do each night?
Why hasn't the power play ever improved this season without even one hot streak?
Everyone associated with the Komets says they have no answers, and that's even more frustrating.
Sure, everyone expected the ECHL to be a different kind of hockey this year than the Central Hockey League was. There was no protected list to start from, the immigration rules favor the affiliated teams and the Komets have one affiliation when most teams have two. Those are all worthy points.
But then how come the team continually shows through its road play that it can compete with anyone? Fort Wayne is 17-12-3 on the road, one of the best records in the league. That's amazing considering the Komets are 12-18-0 at home.
Without an incredible rally over the final six home games, the Komets will finish with just the fifth losing home record in their 61-year history. They likely won't make the playoffs for the first time since 2002. They trail Greenville by 10 points with 10 games left in the regular season, and the Road Warriors have lost five straight games.
Even odder, it's the second year in a row that the Komets will have a better road record than they've had at home, and the third time in the last five years. Before this five-year stretch, it had never happened in franchise history.
The craziest example of the struggles at home is that the Komets are 0-7 this season when playing before more than 8,000 fans at Memorial Coliseum. Before this year, the Komets were 44-6-8 before crowds of more than 9,000 fans and 87-14-13 with crowds larger than the building's pre-renovation capacity of 8,003.
There's no reason for it.
Maybe if the Komets were 17-12-3 at home and 12-18-0 on the road, this overall record would be somewhat acceptable and there would be a lot less complaining.
They aren't, though, and no one seems to know why. It's really remarkable the fans haven't booed a whole lot more.