The Komets have lost five straight games. And coach Ben Boudreau is losing his patience.
“They were better than us at every position,” Boudreau said after the Komets lost 5-3 to the Brampton Beast in front of 7,819 fans at Memorial Coliseum on Friday night. “Their D were better than us at moving pucks. Their forwards were better at making plays. Their goalie was better at making saves. They were just better than us at every facet – they were better on the power play and better on the (penalty kill) – and they had had the same amount of time off (for Christmas). They had to travel here.
“I’m not happy. I think we’re trying to hide behind excuses like blaming it on the refs or whatever it is. We’ve got to look at ourselves in the mirror right now. If we’re not doing our jobs, we’ve got to find a way to make an impact on the game.”
It would be easy to make excuses for the Komets, who play 7 p.m. Saturday at Kalamazoo, Michigan. Look who’s in the higher-level American Hockey League: Brady Shaw, Mason Bergh, Markus Phillips and Max Gottlieb. Look who’s injured: Shawn St-Amant, Brad Morrison, Taylor Ross and Will Petschenig. And now you’ve got Brad Ross leaving the team for Germany.
But there should still be enough talent for the Komets to put up better performances than we’ve seen the last five games, right?
“We’ve got passengers right now and we’re a shell of our former team,” Boudreau said. “We don’t have the high-flying offense. … We can sit there and say that we’re missing all these guys, and we are absolutely, but if you’re in the lineup then find a way to get the job done.”
The Komets’ offense, which looked like the league’s best just a few weeks ago, has totaled 14 goals through their 0-3-2 skid. But most of those goals have come with the Komets playing from behind.
On Friday, the Komets had only 13 shots through two periods and were ultimately outshot 35-29.
Fort Wayne’s goals came from Shawn Szydlowski, Brycen Martin and Alan Lyszczarczyk.
“I’m not happy,” Boudreau said. “We’ve lost five in a row. I still love how we battled to the end tonight, but we weren’t ready to go tonight mentally. We didn’t do the right things mentally and it cost us another two points, a critical two points.”
I asked Boudreau if he still felt the Komets had the personnel to get it done in the absence of all those aforementioned players.
“Nobody has stepped up in their absence offensively, and that’s the easiest way to say it,” Boudreau said. “On the defensive side, we need guys to find a way to move pucks and make plays. Everybody has got to be better. When you lose those guys, everybody has got to be better. … It’s on everybody. It’s on me, too. I’m not just blaming the forwards; everybody has got to be better.
“We’re going to lose as a team and we’re going to win as a team. I’m not trying to point the finger and say it’s this guy or that guy. We’re all in it. Collectively, we need to be better and that’s it. I’m not hiding behind anything. We have lost a lot of guys but there are no excuses – find a way to show up to work and get it done.”
The Komets have dropped to third place in the division with the loss.
Worse news: Kalamazoo is suddenly hot with three straight victories over Cincinnati, Wheeling and Indy, which it beat 7-3 on Friday at Kalamazoo.