FORT WAYNE – The Komets pulled into a tie with Evansville for first place in the CHLs Turner Conference on Sunday, an unlikely prospect when Fort Wayne was seven points back a week ago.
But the Komets still werent happy after a 3-2 loss to Wichita in an overtime shootout in front of 8,014 fans at Memorial Coliseum.
Were not pleased at all, defenseman Brent Henley said. To blow a two-goal lead on home ice is not acceptable at this time of year. Even if we got one point (in the standings), we needed two.
The Komets have gone 6-1-3 in their last 10 games, capitalizing on the IceMens four-game losing streak.
Komets forwards Bobby Chaumont and Jean-Michel Rizk each scored in the opening period. The two goals appeared to give Fort Wayne the upper hand on Thunder goaltender Adam Russo, who had been engaged in a war of words with fans on Twitter since criticizing Komets goalie Nick Boucher for his part in a brawl with Bloomington on Feb. 17.
Russo made 33 saves, including a second-period penalty shot by Rizk and five overtime shots. He stopped two of three Komets in the shootout. Defenseman Frankie DeAngelis was the only Fort Wayne player to score in the shootout against the Berry Conference-leading Thunder (39-15-2).
Boucher had 27 saves, giving up regulation goals to defenseman Kevin Seibel and forward Dustin Donaghy. The Thunders Matt Robinson, Thomas Beauregard and Matt Summers each scored on Boucher in the shootout.
Were still making little mistakes that we have to shore up for the playoffs, Henley said.
Fort Wayne (36-17-4) has nine games remaining, beginning Tuesday in Dayton. Evansville (36-16-4) has 10 games left and plays at the Coliseum on Friday and Saturday.
This was a game we really wanted as a team. It was a big test for us, Fort Wayne defenseman Bryant Molle said.
Playing against these other top teams, these are teams were going to have to beat down the stretch and in the playoffs in order to win. Its definitely disappointing, no matter how we ended up losing. Its just a game we really needed to win.
Fort Wayne is 4-0 in overtime games but has struggled in shootouts. Fort Wayne is 2-4 in shootouts and has scored on only 10 of 39 attempts. Opponents have scored on 13 of 36 attempts.
Shootouts are a crapshoot, Komets coach Al Sims said. We didnt get enough goals, and it was just one of those games. It was tough. I thought Russo played tremendous for them, especially in the second period when we had some real quality chances and (12 shots).
Notes: Wichita was 0 for 4 on power plays. Fort Wayne was 0 for 3. Fort Wayne played without Brett Smith (shoulder) for the fifth straight game and defenseman Dustin Molle (groin) for the 27th. Former Komets coach Dave Farrish was hired as an assistant with the NHLs Toronto Maple Leafs. Tuesdays radio broadcast has been moved to 1380 AM.