FORT WAYNE – If Friday night was about feistiness, Saturday night was about determination for the Komets.
Playing two men short of a full 18-man lineup – as they did most of the previous night – the Komets clawed their way to a point in the standings, despite losing 3-2 in an overtime shootout to the Allen Americans at Memorial Coliseum.
Allen got shootout goals from Colton Yellow Horn, Nick Layton and the winner from Joshua Hepditch. The Komets’ shootout goals came from Frankie DeAngelis and Artem Podshendyalov.
The Komets (30-16-3) trailed by two goals in the third period but got goals from Brett Smith and Chris Auger, the latter coming with no time on the clock as he blasted the puck from 10 feet out, through a crowd and beyond goaltender Marco Cousineau.
Obviously, we wanted to get the two points, center Brett Smith said. But that’s a good hockey team we played there. Overall, it was a pretty mistake-free game and, despite a couple mistakes we had, we can’t hang our heads. It was a character tie up there, and anything can happen in a shootout.
The Komets played without goaltender Nick Boucher and defenseman Bryant Molle, both suspended by the CHL pending further review of their actions in Friday’s 5-4 loss to Bloomington at the Coliseum.
Molle incited a brawl when he went after Ryan Palmer – who had injured the Komets’ leading scorer, Smith, with a clip Jan. 13 – and Boucher came the length of the ice to punch defenseless Bloomington goalie Brian Mahoney-Wilson.
The Komets brought in 20-year-old IPFW club team player Larkin Saalfrank to be Gerry Festa’s backup goalie Saturday,
The Komets were also without captain Colin Chaulk, who has missed two games with concussion-like symptoms, defenseman Dustin Molle (groin), left wing Jesse Bennefield (leg) and goalie Alex Kangas (hip).
The Komets will play two men short today at Bloomington, Ill., too.
Festa stopped 33 of 35 shots in regulation but was foiled by Yellow Horn and Trevor Hendrikx of Allen (29-12-8). Festa stopped 5 of 8 shootout attempts.
Cousineau stopped 42 of 44 shots in regulation and 6 of 8 in the shootout, as 8,418 fans looked on.
It was a great effort, Komets coach Al Sims said. Our guys seemed to have more energy than (Allen) tonight, and we gave them absolutely nothing in the first two periods. They had seven scoring chances and I think we had 21. It was our inability to finish tonight that cost us this game. Breakaways, 2-on-1s, just way too many opportunities missed and it cost us.