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Shorthanded K’s unable to finish comeback

December 17, 2018

Dreadful start. Good comeback. Unsatisfactory finish.

That was how the Komets’ 6-3 loss to the Wheeling Nailers in front of 1,177 fans at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling, West Virginia, on Sunday afternoon played out.

It wasn’t an entirely unfamiliar script for the Komets, though they were shorthanded and playing their third game in three days.

Cam Brown and Renars Krastenbergs scored two goals apiece for the Nailers, who had built a 3-1 lead on Brown’s goal 16:09 into the first period. Fort Wayne’s Justin Hodgman answered just 41 seconds later.

Krastenbergs, however, made it 4-2 for the Nailers with a goal at 17:54 of the first period.

Mason Baptista, who has two goals in three games since returning from Germany, got the Komets within one goal just 11 seconds into the second period. Fort Wayne outshot the Nailers 14-2 in that period, 38-21 for the game.

But the Nailers got breathing room with a Brown goal 13:50 into the third period. And Zach Lynch’s empty-net goal cemented the victory.

Fort Wayne’s starting goaltender, Lukas Hafner, stopped 9 of 13 shots. His replacement, Zach Fucale, stopped 6 of 7. Shawn Szydlowski also scored for the Komets (13-11-1).

Wheeling (12-11-2), which is on a 5-0-1 run, got 35 saves from Matt O’Connor.

Newly acquired defenseman Trey Phillips made his debut for the Komets and was minus-2, as they were without: Marco Roy (Chicago of American Hockey League), Phelix Martineau (Laval of AHL), Cody Sol (knee), J.C. Campagna (eye), Jordan Sims (groin), Jordan Lubin and Alexander Kuqali.

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