FORT WAYNE – Everyone knew there would come a time when a player or two would have to step up and establish themselves as the leader(s) of the Komets, in the wake of center Colin Chaulks departure.
Five games into Fort Waynes first Central Hockey League season, the time has already come. A 4-0 loss to the Bloomington PrairieThunder, in front of 7,206 fans at Memorial Coliseum on Friday night, left the Komets with a 1-3-1 record.
It just cant get any worse, coach Al Sims said. Weve got to at some point get a break.
Fort Wayne has netted only one even-strength goal and been outscored 14-5 this season. On home ice, the Komets have been outscored 8-0 and been shut out in back-to-back home games for the first time since 2006-07 in the United Hockey League.
In my 15-year career, these have been the five most frustrating games Ive been through, left wing P.C. Drouin said.
Bloomington forward Matt McIlvane opened the scoring 16:55 into the first period, off a rebound during a power play. Defenseman Kerry Toddington made it 2-0 in the second period at the back end of a 4-on-1 rush.
In the third period, Bloomington got goals from forwards Anthony Ciraulo and Jason Deleurme, as Komets goaltender Kevin Reiter stopped 33 of 37 shots.
Bloomingtons Marco Emond made 32 saves.
The longer is takes for us to score, the more the frustration builds up and the more the confidence goes down the drain, Drouin said. You saw what happened there in the third period – we were over-thinking things and tried to force the plays and turned over some easy goals to the other team.
The Komets have had their chances to score this season – they came into Friday averaging 33.25 shots, sixth best among 18 teams – and Sims has been tinkering with the lines throughout games to try to find the combinations that will break through the slump.
Were struggling and squeezing our sticks and struggling to make every play and weve got to stay positive, Sims said. Were just shooting ourselves in the foot, whether its taking a penalty at a bad time or not getting many breaks around the net.
Were shooting it right into the goalie. Its tough. The guys are really feeling it, and you can see it, I think, in their game. Theyre frustrated and its just tough on them right now. Weve got to get on track at home.
They will have a chance tonight against the Evansville Icemen, with more than 9,000 fans expected to be at the Coliseum.