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Komets drop another overtime heartbreaker

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For more on the Komets, follow Blake Sebring on Twitter at www.twitter.com/blakesebring and at his blog www.tailingthekomets.com.

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Komets at Toledo
Face-off: 7:15 p.m. Friday
Radio: WOWO, 1190-AM
TV: MyTV, Comcast Ch. 18, Frontier Ch. 9

Kalamazoo keeps rallying to win

Thursday, January 9, 2014 - 6:01 pm

These instant replays are predictably annoying for Fort Wayne Komets fans.

Once again Wednesday night, the Komets played well enough to lose in overtime 3-2 to the Kalamazoo Wings. Fort Wayne has earned points in four straight games but the last two have been overtime losses.

In other words, they are playing just well enough to get beat.

The Komets are 3-3 in overtimes and 0-4 in shootouts. Those are a lot of points to be allowing teams to take away, especially when they are 2-6 in those games at home where they are 6-5-6 overall. Wins in half of those six losses could change the outlook on the season.

``I thought we had a lot of chances that we need to start finishing on,'' forward Mike Embach said. ``Going into the third period, I felt real confident that those were our two points to win, but we didn't get both. We need to start getting both.''

Those points could also be critical at the end of the season when playoff positioning is decided and three or four missed points could be costly.

Unless the Komets get hot soon, Wednesday's loss could provide anguish for a while. The Komets led 1-0 and 2-1 but couldn't hold the lead or extend it against a team playing shorthanded because of call-ups and a suspension.

After Shawn Szydlowski scored on a rebound in the first period, the Wings answered 30 seconds later when Brandon Martell beat Andrey Makarov for another soft goal. This one game from 30 feet to the right side, and Makarov never left his crease to challenge or hug the post.

Komets' newcomer Christian Ouellet scored perhaps the prettiest goal of the season in the second period. After blocking a shot at the Fort Wayne blue line, Ouellet carried the puck down the ice, faked out one defenseman, held up a split second to let the other slide by and then deked goaltender Joel Martin to score low stickside.

The lead didn't hold up, and neither could Makarov who was hit by Kalamazoo's Justin Taylor charging the net 12 seconds into the third period. The hit didn't look dramatic as Taylor appeared to lose an edge before he barreled into Makarov who left the game with concussion symptoms after making 21 saves.

Ben Meisner, another newcomer, came into the game and was charged with the tying goal as Dustin Cloutier charged the crease to knock in a rebound in front. After Makarov left, the Komets played through the first 10 minutes of the third period with only one shot on Martin.

``You know, 2-1 lead 10 seconds in and your goaltender gets knocked out and gets run, it takes you a little it to kind of get refocused,'' Komets coach Gary Graham said.

The Komets had chances, including a power play in overtime. The end came when David Pacan out-battled a Komets defenseman for the puck and fed Matt Caria in the mid-slot for a slap shot that Meisner never had time to flinch at.

``I thought we played good enough to win, but too many turnovers,'' Embach said. ``The way they were tonight short-handed with forwards playing D, we had to play more of a grinding style and we got away from it in the third. We played more up and down and played into what they wanted to do.''

After playing at Toledo on Friday, the Komets get three straight chances at the Wings starting Saturday in Kalamazoo.