Alan Lyszczarczyk scored twice for the Komets tonight, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a 5-4 loss to the Kalamazoo Wings in front of 2,758 fans at Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
The Indy Fuel overtook Fort Wayne for third place in the Central Division with its victory 6-2 over the Tulsa Oilers that included three empty-net goals.
Kalamazoo scored three consecutive goals – from Austin Farley, Seamus Malone and Aaron Thow – to take a 5-3 lead that Fort Wayne couldn’t overcome.
Thow’s goal on a slapshot from 50 feet out, 8:28 into the third period, snapped a string of 19 straight successful penalty kills by the Komets.
Kalamazoo scored on 1 of 3 power plays. Fort Wayne was 2 for 7.
The Komets’ cause wasn’t helped late in the third period when a Chad Reddekopp goal was waved off by referee Cameron Fleming. Though the puck appeared to be in the net before a quick whistle, a discussion between the officials resulted in the determination it wouldn’t be allowed.
Lyszczarczyk cut the deficit to one at 18:49, and Patrick Munson stopped 24 shots, but the Komets (21-17-8) fell to 2-3-3 in their last eight games. Kalamazoo (18-21-6) got 28 saves from Jake Kielly.
Fort Wayne’s Max Gottlieb, who had missed the previous eight games with an upper-body injury, was back in the lineup and assisted on a goal.
The Komets were without Chase Stewart and Kyle Haas, who served the first game of their six-game suspensions for their part in a brawl in Jacksonville, Florida, and injured/ill players Brady Shaw, Shawn St-Amant, Brett McKenzie, Brad Morrison and Dylan Ferguson. The Komets were so short-handed that Jason Binkley, normally a defenseman, played forward.
The game was tied at two late in the second period, thanks to goals from Lyszczarczyk and Stephen Baylis, and Kalamazoo’s Boston Leier and Ian Edmondson.
A.J. Jenks gave Fort Wayne a 3-2 lead by redirecting a Shawn Szydlowski shot 15:14 into the second period.
The Komet play host to the Oilers on Wizarding World Night at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and a crowd of about 10,000 is expected to attend.
Note: Goaltender Cole Kehler remained with Fort Wayne and backed up Munson. The American Hockey League's Ontario Reign, which was short a goaltender, signed former NHL goalie Kevin Poulin to join Matthew Villalta as the netminders. There had been speculation that Kehler would return to Ontario to fill that spot.