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Tailing the Komets: Observations on Saturday’s Kansas City game

After Komets goaltender Garrett Bartus made two saves, Kansas City's Patch Alber knocked home the game-winning goal during the second period Saturday night. (By Blake Sebring of News-Sentinel.com)

Saturday night was a trap game, and the Fort Wayne Komets fell right into it.

Goaltender Tyler Parsons made 43 saves as the Kansas City Mavericks beat the Komets 3-2 at Memorial Coliseum.

After Friday’s 8-2 win, the Komets had a massive letdown, no matter how much they were warned.

“We were very prepared for this situation,” Komets coach Gary Graham said. “This is my 15th year coaching hockey, and I’ve seen it a lot. When you score a lot of goals, (it’s) just making sure you can have that same focus the next night. It took us to finally wake up in the third period but we dug ourselves too big a hole. We just didn’t have the jump, and you have to tip your hat to them. They won the more 1-on-1 battles They wanted it more and we willing to pay a bigger price.”

The Komets fell behind 3-1 late in the second before a fight by Shawn Szydlowski finally gave Fort Wayne some jump. By then, the Mavericks were playing confidently and giving Parsons space to see the shots coming in.

“It’s a mental thing when a game goes the way it goes,” Graham said. “Our focus… early on in the first period we were looking for calls, and you can only control what you can control. I just thought they did a good job of knocking us off our game early on.”

Icing the puck

Somebody in the press box said this was like watching a tennis match, blue line to blue line, but with turnovers. To steal a tennis term, too many unforced errors… Komets are taking too many penalties, and Mavericks were doing a better job of being patient entering the Fort Wayne zone. When it was 5-on-5, they did a pretty good job of passing from one side of the rink from the other to beat the forecheck. When they were on the power play, they were charging ahead to create match-ups and then often passing it back so a defenseman could carry easily into the zone… Komets also had lots of turnovers, and they were mostly coming in the offensive zone. They weren’t entering with any control, sometimes trying to go 1-on-2… Marericks goaltender Tyler Parsons was also doing a better job tonight, mostly because he was getting a lot more help defensively. The Komets didn’t get near any rebounds early. The Mavericks just looked like a much better coached team tonight, patient, taking what the Komets were giving the and hustling back defensively. They played a perfect road game… Kansas City also did a much better job of closing up on the Fort Wayne forwards as they entered the offensive zone. The Komets didn’t have any room to maneuver… The Komets were also missing a little desperation in their game, which the Mavericks certainly had… Despite getting only one shot on goal through the first 13 minutes of the second period, the Mavericks out-scored the Komets 1-0… Kansas City’s third goal was all on the Fort Wayne defense which couldn’t clear a rebound after Bartus twice made fantastic saves. No excuse for that… This style of play is exactly what the better teams will try to do against the Komets, slow them down by clogging the neutral zone and getting all five players back to defend. They’ll sit back and let the Komets get frustrated and then pounce on turnovers for scoring opportunities. The Mavericks were daring the Komets to grind out some offense in the attacking zone, but they couldn’t control the puck long enough to sustain any attack. Too often they tried to go 1-on-3 or even 1-on-4 instead of setting things up for teammates… Other times they were passing on good scoring opportunities trying for great ones that never appeared.

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