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Swikar Patel | The Journal Gazette
Evansville players celebrate behind Komets goalie Nick Boucher after scoring their third first-period goal Friday at the Coliseum.

Komets shot down again in shootout

When the playoffs begin, Komets coach Al Sims will undoubtedly be ecstatic to not have to deal with overtime shootouts anymore.

“We’re not built for shootouts, I can tell you that right now,” Sims said after a 5-4 loss to the Evansville IceMen in an overtime shootout Friday.

The Komets fell to 2-5 in shootouts and dropped a point behind the IceMen in the race for the Turner Conference championship. The Komets have scored on 10 of 41 shootout attempts.

“We don’t have enough skill on our hockey team to go to shootouts and expect to win,” Sims said.

The Komets do excel at comebacks, which they needed Friday.

The Komets fell behind 3-0 after the first period in front of 9,257 fans. They gave up two goals on Evansville’s first four shots as John Ronan, Josh Beaulieu and Malcolm Gwilliam scored in the first.

“I thought we just came out flat,” Fort Wayne’s Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock said. “We just made mistakes, and when we got down one or two, everyone was trying to do it themselves and we got away from doing the little things and playing smart hockey.”

Fort Wayne goaltender Nick Boucher was pulled after the period, having stopped 7 of 10 shots. Gerry Festa stopped 21 of 22 for the Komets.

The Komets’ Brett Smith, who returned after missing six games because of a shoulder injury, got the comeback started by scoring off a rebound at the end of a 2-on-1 rush at 3:34.

Jean-Michel Rizk put a 40-foot shot above the shoulder of IceMen goalie Brian Gillis 13 seconds later.

A terrific pass from behind the net by defenseman Brent Henley set up Schrock for a one-timer goal and a 3-3 score at 13:22.

Matt Gens’ power-play goal, on a shot from 50 feet out, put the IceMen back up at 2:57 of the third. But Colin Chaulk tied it at 5:18, capitalizing on a turnover forced by Artem Podshendyalov.

“We need a better start. That’s a team that if you give them 20 minutes, they’re going to beat you,” Schrock said. “That’s what we did (Friday).

“… We were good enough to come back and get a point, which is great, but if we can win (tonight), we’re a point ahead of them and have our destiny in our own hands with (six games remaining).”

Gillis stopped 34 of 38 shots. He was beat in the shootout by Smith, while the IceMen’s shootout goals came from Todd Robinson, Nicklas Lindberg and Gens.

Notes: The Red Wings’ lineup for today’s alumni game against the Komets’ Legends is expected to be headlined by Joe Kocur, John Ogrodnick, Kevin Miller and Eddie Mio. That games is at 5 p.m., followed by the 7:30 game between the Komets and Evansville.