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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, April 30, 2017 1:00 am

Tired of refs deciding games? Me, too.

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

TOLEDO, Ohio – Look, no matter who wins or loses, I just want to see good hockey. I want to see the players decide the games. Anyone who has watched Fort Wayne playoff hockey over the last few years would agree, I think, that there has been way more conversation about the refereeing than they would like.

Of course, the Komets are the common denominator. And there’s definitely something to that.

But the lack of consistency with the officials is grating to watch, so I can’t imagine what it’s like for the players to endure.

(Updated video highlights are above.)

Maybe the Shawn Szydlowski penalty was just that, a penalty, and it needed to be called. But it wasn’t an elbow. And I don’t see how you call that nine seconds into overtime. The general consensus of onlookers I spoke with was that it was a makeup call for the missed holding late in regulation. OK, maybe so. But I could also show you a handful of other things from the game that deserved makeup calls. We can play this all day.

After losing 4-3 in overtime – Dane Walters netted the winning goal – the Komets didn’t want to talk much about the penalty. I don’t blame them. There’s nothing that they could honestly say that probably wouldn’t draw a fine.

But let’s be honest, the Komets had a lot of awful deserved penalties in the two games here, so I don’t think many will have sympathy that the one they didn’t deserve cost them this game.

“If you watch the game in a completely unbiased manner, you can see what’s going on out there. I don’t think we’ve been completely undisciplined. The calls haven’t been going our way. But that’s stuff we can’t control. We’ve got to find a way to kill off those penalties,” Komets captain Jamie Schaafsma.

The Komets have plenty of positives to take back to Memorial Coliseum – Game 3 of the best-of-7 series will be there Wednesday – after they lost a pair of one-goal games and outscored the Walleye 4-3 in those games when playing at even strength.

Toledo, which won the ECHL’s regular-season championship, has now won 7 of 8 games with Fort Wayne. But the Komets had the ECHL’s top home record during the regular season, were 2-0 at the Coliseum in the first round against the Mallards and are facing a Toledo team that is 0-3 on the road in the playoffs.

“We’ve got to take care of business on home ice. There’s nothing more to it really than that,” Schaafsma said.

I can tell you that when the Komets play their game, they seem to be the better team than Toledo. But what Toledo does so well is just play a monotonous, boring game and wait for you to make a mistake, and then it pounces.

I don’t feel any different about this series than I did Thursday. I never thought the Komets would win one of the first two games. If they are going to win, they have to hold home ice and then steal Game 5 or 7. They need the Walleye, which is coming off a seven-game series, to run out of gas.

Right now, though, I wouldn’t count on that.