Nothing has been typical about this season for the Komets, including this statistic: When leading or tied after two periods, they are 6-5-4, including Friday night’s 4-3 loss in an overtime shootout to the Evansville IceMen in front of 7,072 fans at Memorial Coliseum.
Were it not for left wing P.C. Drouin, who stole the puck from Evansville’s Brian Bicek and blasted a 25-foot shot into the top of the net, tying it at 3 with less than four minutes remaining in the third period, the Komets wouldn’t have salvaged a point.
In the shootout, the Komets got only one goal, from Artem Podshendyalov, while Evansville’s Nick Lindberg, Matt Pierce and Bicek all scored.
We had a good comeback, Komets coach Al Sims said. That was a big goal by P.C. from the slot on the turnover, and the thing is we came back twice in this game, from 2-1 down and 3-2 down.
But the chances we missed, you guys all saw it and I saw it. In the third, (Colin Chaulk) passed it to Danko Mironovic for an empty net, and he puts it back into the goalie. There was a crossbar for Tab Lardner in the second period that was going into the empty net. It’s similar to the start of the year where we’re getting all kinds of opportunities and couldn’t convert.
Evansville goaltender Jeff Harvey stopped 28 of 31 shots and 3 of 4 shootout attempts. Fort Wayne’s Nick Boucher stopped 25 of 28 shots and 1 of 4 shootout attempts.
The Komets (10-16-5) remain in last place in the 18-team Central Hockey League, four points back of the IceMen (12-19-5).
The Komets played without several of their top players, including center Mathieu Curadeau (upper body injury), center Leo Thomas (ankle), right wing Sean O’Connor (flu), defenseman Brandon Warner (shoulder) and defenseman Keith Rodger (death in family).
Down the middle of the ice, we’re kind of hurting right now, but I thought Danny Lapointe did a nice job in his first game (with two shots). He hasn’t played in two weeks, and I thought he did a great job killing penalties, Sims said.
Fort Wayne defenseman Guy Dupuis, who will play in his 1,000th game with the franchise tonight at Bloomington, opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 6:19 of the first period.
Evansville right wing Lee Zalasky answered at 3:52 of the second period, after teammate Damien Surma hit the post. And Surma made it 2-1 at 5:46 by spinning and firing a slap shot from 45 feet out past Boucher.
A forecheck by the Komets culminated with Chaulk sending a pass out of the left corner to Lardner, who one-timed it into the net at 18:17 of the second period.
Bicek scored off a redirection to put the IceMen ahead 3-2 at 2:03 of the third period.
Despite the loss, Fort Wayne is 5-1-4 over its last 10 games.