Komets, comeback run out of gas against mallards – komets – news-sentinel. com

No one in the Fort Wayne Komets locker room would use the excuse. Too much pride maybe, probably didn’t want to show any disrespect to their opponents and there had been plenty of chances to change their fate.

But, still, they had to be exhausted.

After playing an eight-game road trip across four time zones, getting a late start Thursday night because of lousy ice in Evansville and not getting home until 5:30 a. m. on Friday, the Komets’ legs ran out of pump in a 2-1 loss to Quad City before 7,764 Memorial Coliseum fans. They tried, but there was nothing left to grab when trying to dig deep.

“I thought we played hard, but we can’t let stuff like that bother us,” defenseman Randy Cure said. “I felt we kept going really hard.”

They did, but too many passes were an inch off their targets, too many times they tried for home run, length-of-the-ice tosses that ended up being icing calls and a lot of rushed shots simply missed the net. They were trying to force the puck to do the work instead of their legs when normally it takes a combination of the two.

And Quad City played a very good game, particularly goaltender P. J. Musico who made 31 saves. After Trevor Cheek scored in the first period on a deflection to give the Komets a 1-0 lead, the Mallards tied it halfway through the second when Jared Knight shoved himself and the puck into the goal, scoring before the net was knocked off its moorings.

Then there was controversy two minutes later when Komets forward Shawn Szydlowski was tripped into Musico on a breakaway with 8:49 left. Szydlowski barreled into Musico, taking himself, the goaltender and the puck into the goal. Referee Kenny Anderson was stuck and consulted with his linesmen.

“He said he didn’t have a clear view of it, he was looking more at the hauling down portion of it,” Komets coach Gary Graham said. “He wanted to communicate with the linesmen and didn’t have enough information to change the on-ice call.”

The puck did go in, but the ruling could have been that the puck cannot be knocked in along with the goaltender. In effect, Anderson made a compromise call and gave Szydlowski a penalty shot, but Musico snared it with his glove.

Then the Komets got caught up in retaliating penalties, and the Mallards eventually outfought the Fort Wayne defense in front of Pat Nagle to shove home a rebound for a power-play goal and take the lead after two periods.

Fort Wayne had plenty of chances to tie the game, but couldn’t drive for a rebound or snap one past Musico. When defenseman Cody Sol received an elbowing major with 4:39 remaining, the Komets were out of second chances.

“The No. 1 thing that we have to learn from this is we let our emotions control us in the second period,” Graham said. “We had the full lineup tonight, but let’s look at how short we’ve been playing over the last 15 days and what our guys have been going through. We played a lot of four-on-four, a lot of short-handed. That does not bode well when you have guys at the end of an eight-game road trip. It benefited them. They had fresh legs.

“We started getting into that tic-for-tac stuff in the second period. I thought a lot of what we were doing, we had to just eat it if we had to and playing five-on-five would have been better for us.”

Sol’s penalty will be reviewed by the ECHL, but it’s possible the Komets could play short-handed again tonight in the rematch with the Mallards. At least they’ll have a decent night’s sleep to recharge a little.

“We didn’t get enough time to get the proper sleep,” forward Daniel Barczuk said. “We’re back to the normal schedule tomorrow that guys are used to and hopefully that helps us.”

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