Komets lose controversially

Referee Brett Sheva's overtime penalty led to a 2-1 victory by the Evansville IceMen over the Komets. Check out the controversy.

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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
The Komets’ Kenton Miller beats Evansville’s Dustin Hopfner to the puck during the first period.

K’s lose in OT on ‘terrible call’

– Komets coach Gary Graham wanted it to be known Saturday night: This was not on Jace Coyle.

“Make sure that everyone knows Jace Coyle shouldn’t hang his head. That game was not on you,” Graham said, after the Komets lost 2-1 in overtime to the Evansville IceMen, who got a power-play goal from Jeremy Langlois after a penalty on Coyle.

Coyle was whistled by referee Brett Sheva for cross-checking. It was a light smack on the gloves, and Evansville’s Nathan Moon sprawled on the ice, setting up Langlois’ second goal of the game, this from the left circle at 2:39.

“Terrible call, a terrible call,” said Graham, whose Komets (13-11-6) are on a 2-0-1 run. “What a way to ruin a game between two teams that are battling for points. He put his whistle away a long time ago in the third period and multiple times, multiple times, it was evident that was what was going on, and it was a terrible call.”

Because of expected inclement weather, the game today between the Komets and Kalamazoo Wings at Memorial Coliseum has been postponed. It will be made up at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Coliseum. All tickets for today’s game will be honored, when former Fort Wayne star Colin Chaulk makes his return to the Coliseum as a Wings assistant coach.

It’s the first Komets home game postponed since 2008, when Flint couldn’t make it because of dangerous road conditions. It’s only the fourth home postponement since 1999, when inclement weather derailed a game against Kalamazoo. In 2002, a fractured Freon pipe below the ice caused a game to be postponed.

Evansville (17-7-6) opened the scoring Saturday during a power play, when Langlois scored at the end of a 2-on-1 rush. Coyle answered at 15:00 with a shot from the blue line that sailed through a crowd of players and past goalie Allen York.

In the scoreless second period, there were myriad great saves, the best made by Fort Wayne’s Andrey Makarov, who gloved a Tom Zanoski shot during an odd-man rush at 10:17.

At 17:00, Makarov was caught out of the net and Tristan King attempted to slide the puck into the open net, but forward Mike Embach, who had the winner in Friday’s 3-2 overtime game at Evansville, stopped its path to keep it tied at 1.

Sheva’s penalty call in overtime was the first since 13:34 of the third period.

“It was a terrible way to end a great game,” Fort Wayne’s Chris Auger said. “I thought both teams played very well. It was a very physical and very personal game.

“Anytime the ref gets involved like that, after he put his whistle away for so long, it’s really unfortunate. I feel terrible for Coyle. They called it on a non-scoring opportunity. … But there are a lot of positives, and I’m really happy with the way things are going.”

Makarov had 36 saves. York made 30.

Notes: The Komets are still working on trading Mike Vaskivuo, who left the team Dec. 26 in hopes of going to a new club. “We’ve got a couple irons in the fire with him, and I think something will happen early (this) week,” general manager David Franke said. … Former Komets star Brett Smith attended the game. He plays for Brampton of the CHL but has been out six weeks with aggravation of a neck injury he first suffered with Fort Wayne in 2012. … Goalie Ben Meisner missed a second game on bereavement leave. Larkin Saalfrank was the backup to Makarov.