The Komets showed something they hadnt had much of this season – improvement.
But the result Friday was the typical one for their inaugural Central Hockey League season, a loss, 3-2 to the Arizona Sundogs.
Its frustrating that we didnt get a win tonight because I thought the crowd was into it and the guys on the bench were into it, right wing Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock said. I thought the vibe was good tonight, and thats a positive thing, that the vibe was good in the locker room and on the bench. Thats one thing that weve definitely improved on.
Schrock, the second-year player and assistant captain, was the one who really got the crowd into it, late in the second period with his team trailing 2-1. In the midst of a fight with Samuel Grenache, Schrock fell to his knees and looked done for, until he got up and unleashed a flurry of punches to rile up the 6,723 fans at Memorial Coliseum.
I havent been scoring goals and need to play with more of an edge and do other things to get the team going, Schrock said. Everyone knows, me bringing energy to the team, or fighting or hitting, that will give the team a lot more energy than me scoring a goal.
After Arizona forward Luke Erickson scored at 7:48 of the third period – all of the Sundogs goals came from in front, after passes from behind the net – Schrock answered at 8:39 with an almost identical goal, his first of the season
The reinvigorated Komets finished with Leo Thomas, Sean OConnor and Frankie DeAngelis all getting foiled by goaltender Levente Szuper on close-range shots, and defenseman Steven Delisle banking a shot off the post.
Fort Wayne outshot Arizona 39-29 but fell to 2-7-1, the worst record in the 18-team league. The Komets are 1-3-0 at Memorial Coliseum, where they have been outscored 14-6, and theyve been outscored 30-15 overall.
I think theres urgency and desperation, but I guess its the type of urgency and desperation we need right at the start of the game, coach Al Sims said. It was a pretty even game. Unfortunately, we fell behind, which is never a good thing with us scoring only (1.5) goals per game. But we never stopped coming back, had plenty of opportunities.
One of those was a penalty shot by left wing P.C. Drouin, which was thwarted with his team trailing 1-0 in the first period. After Arizona left wing Cam Keith made it 2-0, Fort Wayne defenseman Brandon Warner answered by accepting a Thomas pass, swiveling past a defender and slipping a backhand shot into an open net.
Neil Musselwhite, a rookie from Oswego State, was signed before the game and assisted on Schrocks goal.