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Komets

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Komets
at Dayton
When: 7 p.m. today
Radio: 1190 AM
Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
Jamie Milam of the Komets shoots during Wednesday night’s game at Memorial Coliseum, where the Komets gave up two power-play goals in a loss to Texas. Milam scored the tying goal in the third period.

Penalty-kill slip-ups prove costly for K’s

The Komets learned a lesson the hard way Wednesday against the Texas Brahmas when they gave up two power-play goals and one with a delayed penalty and an extra attacker on the Memorial Coliseum ice.

Texas came into the game ranked 13th out of 14 teams on the power play (12.1 percent efficiency), while the Komets’ penalty killers ranked eighth (81 percent).

“It wasn’t really a topic of discussion coming in because they were only like 12 percent on the power play,” Fort Wayne defenseman Jamie Milam said. “It was just us being lax and losing draws and not making plays. Our penalty kill has been doing great, so it’s not like we’re going to start doing anything different.”

The Turner Conference-leading Komets salvaged a point in the standings, coming back from a two-goal third-period deficit before losing 5-4 in an overtime shootout, but they don’t want to be complacent again.

Tonight, they play at Dayton. The Gems ranked 12th in power-play efficiency (16.7 percent) heading into Thursday’s game against the Brahmas.

“I think our penalty killing is something we’re still working on,” said forward Bobby Chaumont, who scored a third-period short-handed goal Wednesday. “(The Brahmas) got a couple plays right off the draw there, so we’ve just got to just be better there. … We’ve got to just move forward and take that third period we played against Texas and take it into the game at Dayton.”

The Komets (15-7-1) are on a 10-2-1 run. The Gems (10-10-4), who are coached by Fort Wayne-native Brian Gratz, had won two in a row after losing five straight.

A positive for the Komets lately has been their ability to continue scoring without forwards Chris Auger (concussion) and Jean-Michel Rizk (knee).

Auger, who has 11 goals and 21 points in 22 games, was put on injured reserve before Wednesday’s game and is expected to miss at least a week. Rizk, who has nine goals and 12 points in 15 games, has missed five in a row and won’t play tonight, either.

In the past five games, the Komets have scored 23 goals. The Komets lead the CHL with 3.78 goals per game. They’re fourth in defense, giving up 2.78 goals per game.

“Rizk has been great for us on that third line, which has worked so hard,” Chaumont said.

“He provides that scoring there. We definitely miss him. And Auger, especially of late with how he’s played, those are two guys that once they’re back in our lineup we’ll be a totally different team with a lot more offense. We can’t wait to get those guys back.”

After today’s game, the Komets are off until Tuesday, when they play host to league-worst Bloomington (7-15-2).

Notes: Fort Wayne’s Brett Smith has assisted on goals in four straight games. … David Starenky has a penalty minute in five straight. … Fort Wayne is 3-1-0 against Dayton.

jcohn@jg.net

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