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The Journal Gazette

  • Tony Bailey Photography Defenseman Ryan Lowney moves the puck at U.S. Bank Arena on Thursday night in Cincinnati.

  • Tony Bailey Photography Komets forward Dennis Kravchenko moves the puck up the ice at U.S. Bank Arena on Thursday night in Cincinnati. 

  • Tony Bailey Photography Cincinnati Cyclones forward Winston Day Chief, middle, collides with Mason Baptista of the Komets at U.S. Bank Arena on Thursday night, as Fort Wayne's Artur Tyanulin, right, searches for the puck. 

  • Tony Bailey Photography Komets forward Marco Roy, middle, who returned to the lineup after a seven-game absence with an injury, searches for the puck at U.S. Bank Arena as teammate Bobby Shea, right, looks on Thursday night. 

Friday, April 20, 2018 12:00 am

Komets let Game 3 slip away

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

CINCINNATI – The Komets feel they were the better team tonight. If you're looking at most of the statistics, they were. If you watched about 90 percent of the game, you might have thought it, too.

Yep, they are kicking themselves after a 7-6 loss to the Cincinnati Cyclones, decided by an Arvin Atwal goal in overtime. (Video of it is above.)

The Komets won the special-teams battle; they were 2 for 3 on power plays and the Cyclones were 1 for 3. They scored first. They had a lead in the second period. They even seemed to have momentum heading into overtime, after Shawn Szydlowski's goal with 37 seconds left on a shot from the blue line.

But those goals they allowed in the waning seconds of the first and second periods were brutal because they gave the Cyclones life heading into the locker room for intermissions. And some costly turnovers gave the Cyclones some key goals, too, as they have renewed life with Games 4 and 5 here on Saturday and Sunday.

"The guys played well. It's just about tightening up in some areas," Fort Wayne's Dennis Kravchenko said. "They come with a lot of speed so we've got to read that a little better. We've just got to tighten up our (defensive) zone. We had energy. Six goals should be enough for either team."

Artur Tyanulin and Marco Roy, who both returned to the Fort Wayne lineup, really added some oomph. But it was Phelix Martineau who did the heavily lifting early with two goals and an assist to set up a Jamie Schaafsma redirection goal. 

The thing that is really bad news for the Komets is the Cyclones' big guns are now getting going. Shawn O'Donnell had a goal and two assists. Justin Vaive had two goals an an assist. Jesse Schultz and Daniel Muzito-Bagenda combined for two goals and four assists.

Still, the Komets outshot the Cyclones 51-31 and even got the luckiest goal of the night, from Gabriel Desjardins, after Jonas Johansson came way too far out of his net.

“There are no doubts creeping into our locker room. It was a tough break today. It just didn’t go the way it was supposed to,” Szydlowski said.

Coach Gary Graham felt the Komets were doing almost what they wanted to, so he was disappointed to come away with a loss. I asked him about the late-period goals and he agreed they were the pits. He really didn't like the Alex Kile goal that cut Fort Wayne's lead to 4-3 with one second left in the second period. 

“The one at the end of the second period was tough because they’ve got nothing and you’re up two goals. Again, we’re puck watching and not protecting the slot area," Graham said. "That was the one I didn’t care for the most in the whole game. But I thought we did exactly what we’ve been trying to do. We kept a lot of the shots to the outside, but they were opportunistic.”

jcohn@jg.net