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Komets fall to Elmira

The Komets coughed up a three-goal lead and lost 4-3 to the Elmira Jackals in front of 7,322 fans at Memorial Coliseum tonight.

Forward Dane Walters had the winning goal on a 15-foot shot at 3:44.

The Komets had a chance to win it late in the third period, but a Matt Carter goal was disallowed because it had been kicked in.

Forward Jason Dale, who was acquired Wednesday from the Ontario Reign for cash, made his debut for Fort Wayne and had a goal and an assist.

Dean Ouellet, who was signed as a free agent Thursday, did not play.

Ouellet, who was the leading scorer for the San Francisco Bulls before they suspended operations Monday because of financial problems, hadn’t been on the ice for more than a week. He could play Saturday at Cincinnati.

The Komets came into Friday having won three of four games but were struggling on their power play with goals on two of their previous 40 opportunities. They scored on their first power play against the Jackals as defenseman Jace Coyle’s shot from the left circle on a difficult angle slipped underneath goalie Neil Conway at 7:22 of the first period.

Coyle, who returned Jan. 21 from a scoreless, three-game stint with the American Hockey League’s Lake Erie Monsters, put the Komets up 2-0 at 11:30 of the first period with a shot from just inside the blue line.

In 37 games with the Komets, Coyle has six goals and 24 points, tops among the team’s defensemen.

Dale, who assisted on one of the first-period goals, put Fort Wayne up 3-0 with a 35-foot shot 8:27 into the second period, which was followed shortly thereafter by a fight between Fort Wayne captain Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock and Corey Bellamy, who was suspended one game by the ECHL for taking a run at goalie Ben Meisner in a game last week.

Former Fort Wayne forward Mike Vaskivuo scored for Elmira on a redirection at 15:42 and set up forward Artem Demkov for a one-timer goal at 17:34. He had another assist at 7:34 of the third period on a Jakub Culek goal.

Vaskivuo has four goals and 10 points in five games against the Komets.

Notes: The Komets had a moment of silence before the game for longtime ticket and office manager Flossie Zimmerman, who died Jan. 21 at age 86. … Komets defenseman Simon Danis-Pepin missed the game with a shoulder/arm injury. … Even though Charlotte of the AHL now has three goalies because Cam Ward was sent there, the Komets aren’t expecting goalie John Muse to be returned anytime soon.

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 jcohn@jg.net.

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