KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Different place and opponent, but the same story.
The Fort Wayne Komets are built so the forwards should be the team's strength, but their offense was shut down for the second night in a row. They've been held to one goal in two games after Friday's 4-0 loss to the Kalamazoo Wings who out-shot the Komets 42-21.
``We came out flat and couldn't create any kind of momentum,'' Komets coach Gary Graham said. ``They were just all over us. They were relentless and we weren't ready to go for that in the first period, and they rode that out to the end.''
The Komets were flat as the ice from about three minutes after the opening face-off. They finished with 10 shots in the first period, but seven came off one power-play. They were credited with four shots in the second period despite starting with 1:36 of a two-man advantage when they attempted only one shot.
``It was a big moment,'' Graham said. ``We talked about it wand worked on it, but it was just poor execution all the way around. Guys were being too individual at that moment. We didn't get set up the way we needed to.''
The Wings continually beat the Komets to loose pucks, along the boards and always seemed one stride in front.
The forwards keep passing up good scoring chances for non-existent great ones. There are no rebounds, no second chances and no players taking the obvious chances. They had a couple of odd-man rushes where the forward carrying the puck skated toward the boards instead of toward the net.
There were no greasy, gritty, dirty goals or chances, even. The Wings did a great job controlling the neutral zone to neutralize the Komets' speed, and they always seemed to have plenty of puck support so there were fewer turnovers.
``They are a team that plays that run and gun style,'' Wings coach Nick Bootland said. ``They have those forwards who can put the puck in the net, and we wanted to make sure we stayed D-side. We made it difficult for them to come out of their zone and we wanted to hold the puck in the O-zone as long as we could.
``We just know if we let them spread it out, they are going to hurt us because they have those guys who can fly. We wanted to make sure that we didn't put any pucks in the middle of the ice blind at all. If we were going to the middle of the ice, we had to be 100 percent sure.''
The Wings scored first on a three-man weave that left Aaron Clarke wide-open 10 feet from the side of the net. He lifted his shot over Komets goaltender Cody Reichard's shoulder on the short side.
Reichard probably wishes he had another chance at the Wings' second goal as another long,
seeing-eye shot along the ice got through. He played well and kept the Komets in the game longer than their offense deserved. He made several spectacular saves to give his team a chance.
The Komets are snakebit, and even worse, they face the ECHL's best goaltender tonight in Florida's Kristers Gudlevskies who held them to one goal on Thursday night. While the Komets were playing in Kalamazoo, the league-leading Everblades were shopping and resting in Fort Wayne.