KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Seldom has a game, in which they came out with a point, tasted so bitter for the Komets.
The Komets outplayed the Wings on Friday night, outshooting them 35-26 and controlling most of the play at Wings Stadium.
But it went to an overtime shootout scoreless, and the Wings netted all three goals in the 1-0 victory in front of 5,183 fans, there to see the first game between the teams in Michigan since 2009.
"I thought we played really well and deserved a better fate," said Komets coach Al Sims, whose team is 1-1-1 in its first ECHL season.
Justin Taylor, Michael Davies and Brett Lysak scored for Kalamazoo in the shootout.
The Komets trailed 2-0 in the third round of the shootout when Fort Wayne's Eric Giosa lost control of the puck, and the play was stopped because he lost his forward progress without taking a shot. It was one of many offensive mistakes by the Komets in the loss.
Matt Kennedy whiffed on a breakaway, a 3-on-1 rush with no shot or pass toward the net, and Brett Smith missed the net from point-blank range in the waning minutes of regulation time.
"I think the thing that killed us the most was the disallowed goal in the first period," Sims said. "(Josh Brittain) got pushed from behind by the defenseman. The goalie was outside the crease. And Brittain accidentally bumped into him and got called for interference. There was no way he was going to make a save on that play and (a Giosa goal that ensued) got taken away from us."
Kalamazoo goalie Joel Martin stopped all three shots he faced in the shootout, and nine in the third period and overtime combined as his team improved to 2-1-0.
Fort Wayne's Kenny Reiter stopped only 1 of 4 in the shootout, after stopping all 25 shots before that.
"I wasn't happy with my results in the shootout there," said Reiter, a rookie. "But it's something I need to adjust to and something I need to work on. But Martin was hot. He played well, and we just came up a little short in the goal column. It's a learning experience. It's still early in the year. This is something we can build off of."
The start of the game was delayed more than 45 minutes, after a multicar crash closed several exits around Wings Stadium.
It was a hard-hitting first period, during which Fort Wayne's Tyler Butler dropped the gloves to fight Joe Charlebois, who had just crushed Smith at center ice. By the time Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock dismantled Kalamazoo's Adam Polasek in a fight midway through the second period, the Komets had outshot the Wings 22-7.
Reiter has played in all three games, and he's stopped 97.3 percent of the shots against him and he has a 0.83 goals-against average.
"Kenny has proved he's got amazing ability to get across on pucks and make saves. He's got unbelievable quickness. He's very alert," Sims said.