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The Journal Gazette

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets forward Trevor Cheek leaps over the stick of Mallards defense Alexander Kuqali in the first period at Memorial Coliseum on Sunday.  

Sunday, February 11, 2018 8:40 pm

63 shots not enough as K's lose

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

The Komets racked up a season high 63 shots on goal, 37 more than the Quad City Mallards, but it wasn’t enough to help Fort Wayne avoid just the second overtime shootout of the season and a 4-3 loss Sunday.

Jamie Tardif had the only goal of the shootout. Quad City goaltender C.J. Motte foiled Shawn Szydlowski, Trevor Cheek and Gabriel Desjardins.

Fort Wayne’s season-best six-game winning streak came to an end. It is 11-1-1 in its last 13 games.

It is 6-0-1 against the Mallards this season.

“Having that many shots and not many find the back of the net, it’s definitely frustrating,” Komets forward Garrett Thompson said. “To have that much offense in the game, you expect to get the win and the two points. When you come up short, you just feel a little bit of defeat. It’s a hard one to swallow for everybody, especially with the run we’ve been on. We’re expecting a lot of each other.”

The Komets were ecstatic they came out of their set of four games in five days with seven of a possible eight points.

“To have the energy and the pace that we played at, and to have 63 shots, that was something else,” coach Gary Graham said. “It was disappointing not to get the second point, but I’m extremely proud of the group this week. It was a good week for us.”

A crowd of 7,421 attended the game at Memorial Coliseum.

Cheek extended his goal-scoring streak to five games for the Komets, who had outscored their opponents 22-8 in the three previous games, including Saturday’s 5-1 victory over the Mallards in Moline, Illinois. The Fort Wayne offense remained hungry, accounting for 45 of the game’s first 55 shots, though Quad City had the only goal during that span.

The Komets racked up 19 of the first period’s 26 shots but couldn’t solve Motte. Fort Wayne’s best opportunities came late, when the ECHL’s leading scorer, Shawn Szydlowski, set up Marco Roy for a couple of chances but he sent a shot from the right circle over the net and from the left circle into the goalie's pads.

The best save of the period, though, came at the other end – and it wasn’t made by a goalie. Quad City’s Matt Pohlkamp had unleashed a shot from the left circle that was swatted away by goalie Garrett Bartus, but Pohlkamp got to the rebound and flicked it past Bartus before Fort Wayne center Mason Baptista slid across the crease and kicked the puck away as it was halfway over the goal line.

Neither Bartus nor Baptista could do anything about the 30-foot Tristan King backhand that found the back of the net for a 1-0 Quad City lead 19:20 into the first period.

The Komets continued to rack up shots – their 29 in the second period were a season best – but Bartus needed to come up with a stop of an Alex Globke breakaway at 18:05 to keep their deficit at one goal. Roy tied it 25 seconds later by repeatedly whacking at the puck from the doorstep after Justin Hodgman set him up with a pass from the right corner.

Hodgman, who missed 39 straight games with shoulder and knee injuries, has one goal and seven points in six games since returning. He has tallied at least one point in seven of nine games this season.

With the second intermission came between them, Roy and Cheek scored on consecutive shots for a 2-1 Fort Wayne lead. Cheek’s goal, on Fort Wayne’s 49th shot of the game, came after Kravchenko fed him a pass from behind the net 2:30 into the third period.

But the Mallards’ Keegan Kolesar answered by snapping a shot from the right circle past Bartus’ glove at 6:39 to tie it at 2.

Cheek and Kravchenko teamed up for another goal, with Cheek’s cross-ice pass at the end of a 2-on-1 rush putting Kravchenko in position to make it 3-2 at 16:48, but the Mallards answered again with a King goal from 42 feet out just 33 seconds later.

Notes: The Komets’ previous high for shots in a game this season was 52 in a 5-0 victory over Quad City on Dec. 30. … Their previous high for shots in a period, 23, was achieved Nov. 4 against the Mallards and Nov. 5 against Kalamazoo. … Baptista, who had two goals Saturday, saw his goal-scoring streak end at five games.