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The Journal Gazette

  • Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Komets forward Dennis Kravchenko, middle, battles for position in front of the Kansas City Mavericks net with Nate Widman, left, while goaltender Tyler Parsons readies to make a save Friday night. 

  • Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Komets Dennis Kravchenko, left, and Bobby Shea swing at the puck in front of Mavericks goalie Tyler Parsons. 

  • Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Komets forward Taylor Crunk, right, stick-handles with the puck behind the Kansas City Mavericks net at Memorial Coliseum as he's defended by Bruce Aneloski and goaltender Tyler Parsons looks on Friday night. 

  • Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Komets forward Artur Tyanulin, top, prepares to pass the puck Friday night at Memorial Coliseum as the Kansas City Mavericks' Kayle Doetzel defends in front of his own net. 

  • Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Komets captain Jamie Schaafsma, top, passes the puck out of the defensive zone at Memorial Coliseum on Friday night as Kansas City Mavericks forward Jordan Kwas tries to bat the puck out of mid-air. 

  • Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette Komets defenseman Bobby Shea, left, skates for the puck after dropping the Kansas City Mavericks' Darren Nowick to the ice with a body check at Memorial Coliseum on Friday night. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017 1:10 am

Breaking down Komets' trade, loss

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

OK, lots to cover tonight. Let’s start with what Komets coach Gary Graham said about the rationale for trading Ralph Cuddemi to Wichita for Louick Marcotte today.

“We felt that we had too many of the same type of forwards,” Graham said. “With a guy like Louick, he’s a guy who’s a shoot-first type of a guy, a guy who hangs around the net, a guy who drives toward the net. That’s where he’s built to play. He’s a bigger guy, too. We’re trying to get bigger, too. We’re trying to get more of a hard-nose guy who can play more of a North-South role.”

Marcotte should arrive Saturday and, I presume, could play Sunday against Tulsa.

That is, if there’s a game Sunday. There’s a chance that’s in doubt after Oilers coach Rob Murray, a former Fort Wayne player, collapsed on the bench in a game at Quad City tonight. Latest report from the Oilers is that he’s in the hospital and was communicative. I would imagine that, as long as Murray is OK, that the game would be on and someone else would coach the Oilers, but I’ll update you on this Saturday.

As for Friday's game, a 4-3 loss to Kansas City in overtime, here’s what Graham said about it:

“We continue to see that we can’t connect all the pieces of the puzzle,” he said. “We go in yesterday to Toledo and win the special-teams game but lose the 5-on-5 game. Tonight, we lose the special-teams game but outplay them 5-on-5. We can’t put together our special teams, our 5-on-5 and our goaltending. It seems that when one is missing, we can’t come out on the right side of things. We’ve got to connect all three things together in order to start consistently winning.”

There was a lot of good. The Komets are driving to the net better than they were a couple weeks ago. They are coming up with opportunistic goals. They are fighting – hello, Daniel Maggio – to fire everyone up. And they are showing some resiliency; they battled back from two goals down tonight.

But there is plenty of bad.

There were some dreadful penalties tonight. Taylor Crunk took one for trying to fight and goalie Michael Houser took one that shortened a major power play. Speaking of goaltending, the Komets are getting decent-but-not great goaltending and that’s not going to get them above .500 with the number of defensive lapses that are taking place out there. On those defensive lapses, it seems like the Komets are good for at least one play per game that has everyone in the building asking, “What was he thinking?”

I suppose it’s worth mentioning the Komets have played almost the entire season without arguably their best player, Justin Hodgman, but few could have expected they’d be 5-5-2 and I feel like people are getting a little antsy right now. Usually Dec. 10 or so is the date around here. If they are still .500 then, I would expect a lot of big changes.

But I still think the Komets will be fine. There’s too much talent for it not to be. And they seem close to putting it together to me.

“Obviously, we outworked them and outbattled them and everything, but the bounces here and there and the occasional breakdown defensively is the difference right now. But we made a step forward tonight in everyone’s effort and that was good to see,” Crunk said. “Being ready from the jump is huge for this group, especially. If we have a good start then we’ll be good moving forward.”