FORT WAYNE – The unhappiest face Thursday night at Memorial Coliseum belonged to Komets general manager David Franke, as he watched his team give up 31 of the first 41 shots and lose for the sixth time in the last nine games.
The Komets have been ravaged by injuries and call-ups – out of the lineup in the 5-2 loss to the Toledo Walleye were captain Colin Chaulk, Ryan Lasch, Luca Caputi, Chris Auger and Matt Kennedy – but it was the lack of hustle that bothered Franke.
I think there are (free agent) players out there. If this doesn’t turn around here shortly, we’re going to have to really consider bringing some new guys in or making some trades, doing something to stir it up, Franke said. Right now, I’m not happy with our effort at all.
After winning four championships in five years in the IHL and CHL, the Komets are 14-13-2 in their first ECHL season and have won back-to-back games only once since Nov. 9.
About the only good news Wednesday was that the Komets’ power-play unit, which came into the night ranked worst in the 23-team league with an efficiency of 12.6 percent, went 2 for 2 with the man advantage, getting goals from Garrett Klotz and Josh Brittain.
However, that came after the Walleye had built a 4-0 lead in front of 6,667 fans.
I don’t think (missing players) is a real excuse, Komets coach Al Sims said. For guys like (Stephon Thorne) and Klotz, guys who hadn’t played much in the last couple weeks, they got a chance to play.
Klotz got a goal, which is great, in the front of the net and on the power play. Those guys have a chance to show now that they belong and can do the job. It’s an opportunity for some guys.
But the players didn’t take full advantage of the opportunity against the Walleye (17-12-1), who got their first hat trick of the season from Max Campbell and was 2 for 3 on the power play.
That was particularly disheartening for Sims, who held a meeting Thursday morning and stressed the importance of avoiding penalties.
We just fell right back into what (had been) happening, said Sims, whose team plays tonight at Kalamazoo, Mich., and faces Elmira at the Coliseum on Saturday.
The third period might have brought a better effort, but Toledo was back protecting the lead, as well. They weren’t playing as hard offensively as they were in the first two periods.
Fort Wayne goalie Kenny Reiter (7-6-1) stopped 34 of 39 shots. Toledo’s Kent Simpson (7-7-1) stopped 24 of 26.
Notes: Chaulk is still about two weeks from returning from his foot infection, Franke said, adding it’s been determined it’s not MRSA. Chaulk missed 35 games in 2008-09 with MRSA. Tim Priamo, who was acquired in a trade with Wheeling and then released Wednesday, opted to return to school rather than play, Franke said.