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Komets drop season-opener in shootout

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Face-off: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
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Toledo holds off pair of Fort Wayne rallies

Sunday, October 20, 2013 - 9:49 pm

If Saturday's Fort Wayne Komets' game had ended in a tie, everyone would have been satisfied with the comeback. Instead, they lost to Toledo 4-3 in a shootout and no one on the home team's side felt satisfied, especially the 9,676 Memorial Coliseum fans.

After missing the playoffs last year in their first ECHL season, the Komets tried to hit the reset button Saturday night. They battled back twice to tie and had the momentum going into the shootout but could beat Walleye netminder Mac Carruth only once and lost in the extra session 2-1.

Despite the many positives in the Komets' play, everyone wanted more.

``That was our game to win,'' new captain Nick Tuzzolino said. ``We're glad we got a point, but we really wanted that second one. You're never satisfied with a loss. No matter how well you played or how much better you think you played than the other team, it's still an L in the column. We're a team that needs wins, especially at home.''

The Komets out-shot the Walleye 35-21, but Toledo played a perfect road game, getting a lead and then playing conservatively to protect Carruth. The Komets kept working and tied the game on Mickey Lang's second goal of the night with 4:30 left, but couldn't put the game-winning marker away.

``I think overall we played hard,'' forward Tristan King said. ``We came back and got that point, but we worked hard for it. We've got a solid team here, but we need to work 60 minutes. If there's a little breakdown, it's going to go in your net.''

The Komets scored first when Scott Fleming set up Mickey Lang from behind the Toledo net 1:29 after the opening face-off on a power-play goal. The Walleye answered with a power-play goal seven minutes later after the Komets had several chances to extend the lead.

The second period included a pair of fluke goals. Komets defenseman Nik Pokulok tried to pass the puck through his own goalmouth, but Toledo's Scott Arnold knocked it out of the air and behind Fort Wayne goaltender John Muse. The Walleye seemed to control the momentum and the play until the Komets' Chris Auger ripped a long slap shot behind Carruth for a short-handed goal with 3:21 left in the period.

A defensive mix-up and a strong play by Arnold gave the Walleye the lead right back early in the third period before Lang forced the overtime and the shootout.

``The toughest thing is we have to sit around and wait to respond because every guy in that room feels like we should have won that game,'' Komets coach Gary Graham said. ``We played well in front of a big crowd. We out-hit them, out-scoring chanced them. The stats don't lie, we out-shot them, but we didn't get that second point that we were looking for.''

The Komets are off until Saturday when they host Cincinnati. The jerseys of former Komets goaltenders Chuck Adamson and Nick Boucher will be lifted to the Memorial Coliseum rafters during pre-game ceremonies.