FORT WAYNE – Fort Wayne native Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock has been a part of a lot of Komets games – as a fan and a player for four seasons – and he had unique perspective on the humiliating 8-2 loss to the Eastern Conference-leading Reading Royals on Wednesday.
Ive never been embarrassed in a Komet uniform like I was tonight, said Schrock, whose team was eliminated from playoff contention for the first time since 2002. I can say that for every guy in the room. It was embarrassing tonight. Its a shame. Im surprised there were still people watching at the end of the game when we saluted the fans.
Forward Matt Firman and defenseman Nick Wheeler netted the only goals for the Komets, who suffered the most lopsided defeat of their season in front of 5,941 fans. They were down 6-0 after one period, the most goals given up in a single period by the Komets since 2000.
I think it was a lack of effort and a lack of focus, Schrock said.
With five games remaining in their first ECHL season, the Komets (32-32-3) are in 11th place in the conference, 10 points back of Toledo, which holds the tiebreaker, for the eighth and final playoff spot.
Former NHL goaltender Jeff Deslauriers, who came into the game with a .911 save percentage, was pulled from the game after allowing three goals on five shots.
His replacement, Charlie Effinger, gave up three goals on his first five shots as the Royals (42-18-6) went on to win their fifth consecutive game.
Deslauriers went back in the net after the first intermission and finished with 14 saves on 19 shots.
Reading got two goals apiece from Barry Almeida and Joel Champagne, while Nikita Kashirsky had one goal and three assists.
It was just unbelievable, to put it mildly. Everything they shot, they put in, Fort Wayne coach Al Sims said. Unfortunately, the game got out of hand. Theyre a good team, and you can see why. Theyve got very skilled forwards and a fast defense that can move the puck.
Whether its 2-1 or 8-2, it doesnt really matter. We needed to win the game, and we didnt.
Before the game, the Komets confirmed captain Colin Chaulk was done for the season. Chaulk, a center and assistant coach, had endured myriad injuries – shoulder, groin, foot infection, nerve damage from the infection – and it limited him to 28 games.
He just doesnt have the strength he needs right now to really get the job done, general manager David Franke said about the limited arm strength from the infection.
Chaulk had two goals and 28 points this season.
Notes: Before the game, the Komets signed rookie defenseman Mathieu Gagnon, who had four goals, 25 points and 332 penalty minutes in 63 junior games this season with Whitecourt and Shawinigan. Defenseman Scott Kishel completed his three-game suspension for a boarding major penalty Friday at Kalamazoo, Mich.