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Penalty kill stinks, K's lose

There really is no sugarcoating this: The Komets stunk tonight, losing 5-3 to the Bloomington PrairieThunder, in front of 7,172 fans at memorial Coliseum.

Fort Wayne had the No. 4 ranking on the penalty kill (85.4 percent). Bloomington was dead last, ranked 18th, on the power play (12.8 percent).

Yet the PrairieThunder scored on 4 of 5 power plays.

"Obviously, something wasn't working," defenseman Keith Rodger said.

And when the Komets did have some good momentum, early in the first and third periods, they gave up goals that seemed to just suck the life out of them for too long.

"Not good enough, obviously," Fort Wayne coach Al Sims said. "We gave up three goals in the first period. You can't give up three goals in the third period (after it's tied at 2) and expect to win the hockey game."

Asked what was the difference between the teams, Sims said: "They pressured us everywhere, and our defense couldn't handle the pressure, and neither could our forwards. That was the difference.

The Komets, who are 5-9-1, had their first three-game winning streak of the season snapped.

Bloomington is 9-6-1.

One of the few positives was newly acquired Tab Lardner.

"Oh, Lardner was great," Sims said. "He was blocking shots, scored a goal. I don't know what else he could have done, but he played really well and was one of our better forwards."

Also scoring for Fort Wayne were Rodger and Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock, who has four goals in the last two games. Bloomington's goals came from Jamie Lovell, Jason Dale, Jon Booras and Brian Kaufman, who scored twice.

On Saturday, the Komets play at Dayton.

"We've just got to learn from this and move on," Rodger said. "That's all you can do from any situation, I think, good or bad. We've got to learn from it, come out and put it on Dayton (tonight)."

By the way, the major penalty Schrock got for charging Travis Granbois was weak in my opinion. I'm not sure it was even worth more than a minor.

Fort Wayne was 2 for 7 on the power play.

Justin A. Cohn, pro sports coordinator for The Journal Gazette, has been covering the Fort Wayne Komets since 1997. His reporting includes game stories from home and away, features about the players and personalities associated with the Komets, plus coverage of issues affecting hockey at all levels. A native of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Cohn graduated from Emory University in Atlanta. He can be reached at 260-461-8429 or by email at jcohn@jg.net.

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