TOLEDO – Taking both of the first two games of the Central Division finals would have been a tall order for the Komets.
So they have to be leaving the Huntington Center feeling OK, having split the pair despite a 2-1 loss today to the Toledo Walleye.
A crowd of 6,606, including about 500 fans from Fort Wayne, attended the game, in which Toledo outshot the Komets 31-29 and tied the series at 1.
Game 3 will be 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Memorial Coliseum.
After dropping Saturday’s opening game 5-3, thanks to Dennis Kravchenko netting the winning and insurance goals, Toledo came out with renewed vigor and physical intensity in the first period. But Fort Wayne goaltender Michael Houser thwarted close-range shots from A.J. Jenks and Tyler Barnes in the scoreless first period while Toledo netminder Pat Nagle foiled Garrett Thompson’s shot from 6 feet out.
Seconds after killing off the first power play of the game – Toledo’s Mike Embach had high-sticked his former teammate, Curtis Leonard, in the face – longtime Komets' foe Shane Berschbach made it 1-0 with a shot from just outside the crease 6:49 into the second period.
The Komets had immediate chances to answer, including a Jamie Schaafsma-led 2-on-1 rush and a Gabriel Desjardins shot from 8 feet out, but Nagle protected his net.
Fort Wayne had just killed off a Toledo power play — Leonard had been penalized for slashing — but they left Jenks unattended in front of the net and he faked his way into a shot that slipped inside the right post for a 2-0 Walleye lead 1:05 into the third period.
After Fort Wayne’s Artur Tyanulin agitated Colin Jacobs into a roughing penalty during a stoppage, Desjardins netted a power-play goal at 10:21 with a shot from the right circle after a Marco Roy crossing pass.
Notes: The referees were Chris Pontes and Mike Sheehan. ... Toledo lost forward Dylan Sadowy to the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins and he was replaced by Charlie O’Connor. ... The Komets’ lineup was unchanged from Game 1; they scratched Justin Hodgman, Anthony Petruzzelli, Kevin McKernan and Justin MacDonald. Zac Larraza and Trevor Cheek remained with Tucson of the AHL.