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Komets lose in OT shootout

The Komets held the defending-champion Reading Royals’ offense in check, but they were unable to get the victory Saturday at Memorial Coliseum.

Fort Wayne lost 2-1 in an overtime shootout, after the Royals got goals in the seven-round shootout from Yannick Tifu, Ryan Cruthers and Michal Cajkovsky.

Fort Wayne’s shootout goals came from Mike Vaskivuo and Mike Embach.

Goaltender Andrey Makarov made 43 saves before the shootout for Fort Wayne.

Before the game, the Komets brought in Todd Mancuso to be their emergency goaltender, since Cody Reichard was called up to Iowa of the American Hockey League after the 5-1 loss to Reading on Friday night. Mancuso plays for IPFW’s club team.

Neither team could capitalize on myriad great chances in the first period. Reading’s Domenic Monardo was foiled by Makarov on a 2-on-1 rush at 2:26 of the first period. Fort Wayne’s Brandon Marino was alone in front and had a backhand shot gloved by goalie Riley Gill at 4:05. And at 10:55, a crossing pass came right to Fort Wayne’s Mickey Lang, who whiffed on a chance to score into an open net.

Lang redeemed himself 10:07 into the second period, when he netted his league-leading 17th goal of the season. He skated the puck from his own zone and sent a slapshot from the right circle underneath Gill for a 1-0 lead.

The Royals tied it at 1:44 of the third period, when they were killing a Fort Wayne power play, stole the puck at the blue line and got a breakaway goal from Brandon Blandina.

Marino was stopped from point-blank range in the final three minutes of regulation time.

Notes: A power outage early Saturday affected a compressor and the ice conditions at the Coliseum, but things were repaired well in advance of the game. … The Komets scratched defenseman Nathan Martine and replaced him with Nik Pokulok.

Justin A. Cohn, pro sports coordinator for The Journal Gazette, has been covering the Fort Wayne Komets since 1997. His reporting includes game stories from home and away, features about the players and personalities associated with the Komets, plus coverage of issues affecting hockey at all levels. A native of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Cohn graduated from Emory University in Atlanta. He can be reached at 260-461-8429 or by email at