A 6-4 loss to the visiting Dayton Gems on Tuesday night was a microcosm of the Komets’ inconsistent season.
They allowed a goal, scored a goal, allowed another goal, scored another. They answered three quick Dayton goals with only two of their own.
In the end, the Komets’ offense was unable to score to its capabilities and the Gems needed only 20 shots to send 7,903 fans home from Memorial Coliseum in sour moods.
And the frustration of the two-time defending champions shined through.
We had no scoring. Christ, how many chances did we have in the second period to score and we couldn’t get it done? coach Al Sims said. That was the difference in the hockey game. We should have been up 3- or 4-2. But our guys don’t bear down around the net and consequently, this happens. And it takes other teams very few chances to score against us; every chance is in the net.
The Komets (15-11-1), who are in a tie for third place with Bloomington, will complete the home-and-home series at Hara Arena tonight. With losses in three of their last four games, the Komets are on pace for 42 victories, which would be their fewest since 2001-02, the last time they missed the playoffs.
The Komets were without center Colin Chaulk, who had four goals and 11 points in his last five games. Because of a death in the family, he will miss the next two games but should be back for Saturday’s game at Flint, Mich. Top-line forward Matt Syroczynski remains with the higher-level American Hockey League’s Norfolk Admirals.
The Komets’ third-ranked defense wasn’t immune from criticism in an eerily silent locker room.
We’ve just got to do a better job of making simple plays and bearing down, defenseman Guy Dupuis said. On two or three of their goals tonight, the puck was really bouncing on us and it seemed like we didn’t do a good job of bearing down and making sure it got out of our zone. It stayed in and they took advantage of it. My hat’s off to (the Gems).
John Snowden scored twice for Dayton (13-14-4). Dan Lapointe, Matt Auffrey, Jonathan Ornelas and Mike Vaskivuo also scored.
The Komets got goals from Dupuis and P.C. Drouin, both on power plays, and Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock and Leo Thomas.
Thomas’ goal came at 17:36 of the third period, after defenseman Keith Rodger set him up from behind the Dayton net, trimming the Gems’ lead to 5-4. Thomas took back-to-back faceoffs in the offensive zone and lost them both, setting up Vaskivuo’s empty-net goal.
Notes: Police in Stallings, N.C., have identified the victim allegedly murdered by former Komets player Bogdan Rudenko. He was 32-year-old Yuriy Anatolevich Kharutokov, the Charlotte Observer reported. Rudenko is awaiting extradition from Colorado.