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  • The Komets' J.C. Campagna carries the puck during the first period of Friday's 5-1 loss to the Walleye at Memorial Coliseum. The Komets will look to keep their season alive in Game 5 of the series tonight in Toledo, Ohio. (Photos by Katie Fyfe | The Journal Gazette)

  • Komets' Brady Shaw chases the puck during the first period against the Toledo Walleye at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on Friday April 19th, 2019.

  • Komets' Anthony Petruzzelli chases after the puck while Toledo Walleye's David Pope tries to stop him during the second period at Memorial Coliseum on Friday April 19th, 2019.

  • Komets' Sean Flanagan carries the puck during the first period against the Toledo Walleye at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on Friday April 19th, 2019.

  • Komets' Shawn Szydlowski looks for someone to pass the puck to during the first period against the Toledo Walleye at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on Friday April 19th, 2019.

  • Komets' Sean Flanagan carries the puck during the first period against the Toledo Walleye at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on Friday April 19th, 2019.

  • Komets' Anthony Nellis hits the puck during the first period against the Toledo Walleye at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on Friday April 19th, 2019.

  • Komets' Jamie Schaafsma carries the puck during the second period against the Toledo Walleye at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on Friday April 19th, 2019.

  • Komets' Shawn Szydlowski looks for someone to pass the puck to during the first period against the Toledo Walleye at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on Friday April 19th, 2019.

  • Komets' Shawn Szydlowski looks for someone to pass the puck to during the first period against the Toledo Walleye at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on Friday April 19th, 2019.

  • Komets' Jake Kamrass gets held by Toledo Walleye during a fight during the first period at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on Friday April 19th, 2019.

  • Komets' Justin Hodgman and Toledo Walleye's Bryan Moore get into a fight during the first period at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on April 19th, 2019.

  • Komets' Marco Roy hits the puck while Toledo Walleye's Ryan Obuchowski defends him during the first period at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on Friday April 19th, 2019.

  • Komets' Jake Kamrass gets held by Toledo Walleye during a fight during the first period at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on Friday April 19th, 2019.

  • Komets' Anthony Nellis hits the puck during the first period against the Toledo Walleye at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on Friday April 19th, 2019.

  • Komets' Josh Elmes carries the puck while Toledo Walleye's Greg Wolfe tries to stop him during the first period at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on Friday April 19th, 2019.

  • Komets' Kevin Gibson defends the puck during the second period against the Toledo Walleye at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on Friday April 19th, 2019.

  • Komets' J.C. Campagna carries the puck during the first period against the Toledo Walleye at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on Friday April 19th, 2019.

  • Komets' Kyle Hope steals the puck during the first period against the Toledo Walleye at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on Friday April 19th, 2019.

  • Komets' Shawn Szydlowski looks for someone to pass the puck to during the first period against the Toledo Walleye at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on Friday April 19th, 2019.

  • Komets' Josh Elmes carries the puck while Toledo Walleye's Greg Wolfe tries to stop him during the first period at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on Friday April 19th, 2019.

  • Komets' Brady Shaw chases the puck during the first period against the Toledo Walleye at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on Friday April 19th, 2019.

  • Komets' Kyle Hope steals the puck during the first period against the Toledo Walleye at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on Friday April 19th, 2019.

  • Komets' Justin Hodgman and Toledo Walleye's Bryan Moore get into a fight during the first period at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on April 19th, 2019.

  • Komets' J.C. Campagna carries the puck during the first period against the Toledo Walleye at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on Friday April 19th, 2019.

Saturday, April 20, 2019 1:00 am

ECHL Playoffs Toledo 5 Komets 1

Komets fall into 3-1 hole

Lack of urgency cited for subpar play in Game 4 loss

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Schedule

Komets vs. Toledo

Central Division semifinals

Best-of-7: Walleye leads 3-1

Game 1: Toledo, 3-2

Game 2: Toledo, 6-0

Game 3: Komets, 2-1 (OT)

Game 4: Toledo, 5-1

Game 5: Today, 7:30 p.m. at Toledo

Game 6: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. at Coliseum*

Game 7: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. at Toledo*

*If necessary

The Komets' season has looked to be in jeopardy many times, but they've always seemed to find a way to show their mettle.

On the heels of a 5-1 loss in Game 4 to the Toledo Walleye, their truest test is about to come. And the Komets know they can't be anything like they were Friday in front of 8,063 disappointed fans at Memorial Coliseum.

“What do you want me to do? Keep selling optimism here? It just wasn't good enough and the guys have to find a way to be better than that,” Komets coach Gary Graham said. “We had a lot of no-shows again tonight and it's frustrating to see. As soon as it happens, a lot of guys start playing as individuals with this group.”

The rival Walleye has a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 Central Division semifinals and can advance to the next round by winning at 7:30 p.m. today in Game 5 at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio.

“We've got to go there with urgency as a team to play better than them. We're down 3-1 but it's not done. If we go there, steal one, then we can get this (series) back home,” forward Marco Roy said.

“If guys can't get pumped about the game tomorrow, then there's a problem in the room. We all play for this. It's playoff time. Every individual, every guy on the team, has to get the inside of themselves, their hearts, going. ... We all have to come positive and play hard tomorrow. It's either go home or keep playing.”

Cincinnati has a 3-1 lead over Kalamazoo in the division's other series.

Fort Wayne goaltender Zach Fucale stopped 17 shots and, as has been the case the entire series, the Komets' offense was held in check. Toledo netminder Pat Nagle was tested by some close-range shots – he thwarted Roy and Brady Shaw from point-blank range, and kicked away a Justin Hodgman breakaway attempt – and finished with 23 saves.

The teams are meeting for the fourth time in five years and Nagle finally has a chance to emerge victorious, having lost twice with Fort Wayne and last year with Toledo.

He's been helped by successful penalty killing; The Komets were 0 for 5 on power plays Friday and are 1 for 17 in the series. Toledo was 1 for 4 to reach 5 for 19 in the series.

“We've been working on (our power play) a lot but it's just not connecting,” Roy said. “We have our plays, we know what to do, but it's just not going in or we don't execute some stuff. ... We need more of a net presence or to shoot more, there's something that's not clicking right now and it's frustrating because that's a big part of a series.

“It's not like we don't want to score on the power play. It's just I think we have to work harder. Tomorrow, we have to be perfect pretty much.”

On the heels of Fort Wayne's 2-1 victory Wednesday, which saw Shawn Szydlowski force overtime with 22 seconds remaining and Kevin Gibson win it in overtime, Craig Cescon netted the only goal for the Komets on Friday to trim their deficit to 3-1 at 12:16 of the second period.

But the Walleye cemented the victory when Bryan Moore unleashed a 30-foot shot that was blocked by Fort Wayne's Ryan Lowney, who couldn't prevent Moore from picking the puck right back up and sending a shot into the net for a 4-1 lead 11:15 into the third period.

Ben Danford added an empty-net goal for the Walleye.

“We're a team that really rides on confidence and trying to feel good about ourselves,” Graham said. “When it doesn't happen, that's when we really (sag). This team, there's a certain dynamic at play that you can't see from the stands and can't see from the external, but it's on the bench and you feel it. Unfortunately, when you're not getting calls and you start getting frustrated, it's a cancer that festers through the bench.”

Toledo also got goals from David Pope (power play), Dylan Sadowy and Zach Gallant.

jcohn@jg.net