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Komets’ hiccup leads to loss

December 22, 2018

New acquisition Brady Shaw scored, but it was an old storyline for the Komets, who couldn’t play a complete, solid game at Memorial Coliseum tonight.

They lost 5-3 to the Kalamazoo Wings in front of 7,102 fans, who saw Zach Fucale stop 21 of 25 shots.

Fort Wayne is in an 0-2-1 slump.

Jake Hildebrand stopped 26 of 29 shots for the Wings.

(Video highlights are above.)

The first period was scoreless : Kalamazoo outshot Fort Wayne 8-7 : and Fucale’s best save came on Zach Saar’s shot from the right circle at the end of an odd-man rush while the Wings’ Hildrebrand foiled a shot from Justin Kea after he powered his way around the defense to send a one-handed shot inside the right post.

Fort Wayne broke the deadlock with a power-play goal 8:16 into the second period, when Kalamazoo’s Alexander Mikulovich was in the penalty box for tripping. A shot from the right circle by Shawn Szydlowski was redirected into the bottom of the net by Mason Baptista, who has three goals in four games since returning from Germany.

The Wings tied it at 14:02, when Wade Murphy fought off a couple of defenders in the left circle and sent a pass to Colin Jacobs, who snapped a shot over Fucale’s shoulder.

Shaw, playing his first game for the Komets, answered 2:14 later by firing a 40-foot shot over a sliding Mikulovich to make it 2-1.

The Komets’ nasty habit of scoring a big goal and then giving one up reared its head at 18:52, when Kalamazoo’s Luke Sandler redirected the puck out of mid-air to tie it at 2. And with less than a second remaining in the period, Saar sent a shot from the right circle just inside the right post for a 3-2 lead during a power play.

Kalamazoo’s Tanner Sorenson scored during a power play at 3:55 of the third period, though Fort Wayne’s captain, Jamie Schaafsma, scored on a penalty shot at 9:17, after he had been hauled down on a breakaway.

Kalamazoo added an empty net goal.

There was some intrigue before the game when word came out that part of the Komets’ Tuesday trade with the Orlando Solar Bears had been voided. While they got to keep their end of the bargain, Shaw, Aidan Muir was on his way back to Fort Wayne. According to Komets general manager David Franke, Muir failed his physical with the Solar Bears because of an old hand injury from a skate blade. Since the deal was Shaw for Muir and future considerations, those considerations will now be greater and, according to Franke, they will be fulfilled either by 3 p.m. Saturday or after the holiday trade freeze ends Dec. 26.

Notes: Marco Roy was re-signed by the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves, just two days after he was returned to the Komets. He has five goals and 12 points in 13 games this season with the Komets. He had one assist in four games with the Wolves, who needed him back because of injuries.

jcohn@jg.net

        
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