The Journal Gazette
Sunday, December 29, 2019 8:00 pm

Another loss for K's: 7th straight

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

It could be worse.

Through their seven-game losing streak, the Komets still managed to get three points for the standings by making it to overtime.

But this isn’t good.

The Komets haven’t endured a losing streak this long since they joined the ECHL in 2012, though that first season saw them lose six straight in regulation time.

Today, the Komets’ defense was porous in a 5-4 loss to the Kalamazoo Wings in front of 7,688 fans at Memorial Coliseum.

Fort Wayne (15-11-5) is 0-4-3 during this slump, though their lineup has been decimated by injuries and players being called to the higher-level American Hockey League. Kalamazoo (12-14-3), which got 31 saves from goaltender Jake Hildebrand, has won five in a row, including back-to-back games against the Komets.

The Komets, still in third place in the ECHL’s toughest division, won’t have much time to solve this; they play host to the Toledo Walleye at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the annual New Year’s Eve game.

Hildebrand foiled Fort Wayne’s A.J. Jenks from point-blank range just 15 seconds into the game.

And at the other end, the Wings scored on their second shot of the game. After Jason Binkley coughed up the puck at the blue line, Adam Douda netted a shot from the left circle.

Fort Wayne defenseman Olivier Galipeau kept it from getting worse by diving to foil a shot through a crowd and then Shawn Szydlowski fought Kalamazoo captain Ben Wilson at 2:15.

Taylor Ross tied it at 1 by stickhandling up ice, sending the puck to the left of Dauda, skating around the other side, getting the puck back and flicking it past Hildebrand at 9:10.

The Wings regained their lead when Dylan Sadowy circled the net unfettered and setup a wide-open Zach Diamantoni for a shot at 14:52.

On just their ninth shot, the Wings took a 3-1 lead with a power-play goal. With the Komets too bunched up in the corner, the puck popped out to Matheson Iacopelli, who fed Justin Taylor backdoor for a goal into a wide-open net at 17:01.

Brett McKenzie netted a shot from behind the net, banking it off Hildebrand and in 13:14 into the second period, seconds after McKenzie was thwarted from point-blank range.

Just 13 seconds into the third period, the Wings struck again with a Kyle Blaney shot from 25 feet out. Again, the Komets answered with Jenks scoring off a rebound at 6:59, after Anthony Petruzzelli stole the puck in the corner.

The Wings regained their two-goal lead, at 5-3, with a Dauda goal at 8:39, seconds after Fort Wayne goalie Dylan Ferguson foiled a breakaway attempt.

As is their custom, the Komets continued to show fight, getting a goal at 12:52 from Alan Lyszczarczyk, who pulled up and fired from the top of the left circle.

Ferguson stopped 25 shots.

Notes: The Komets’ Kyle Haas was suspended one game by the ECHL for an inappropriate gesture made toward the Wings’ bench in Kalamazoo’s 3-2 overtime victory Saturday night. The ECHL’s commissioner, Ryan Crelin, and senior vice-president of hockey operations, Joe Ernst, were at the game to see it. … Jermaine Loewen was called back to Chicago of the AHL. He has one goal and two points in 11 games with Fort Wayne. … Brady Shaw remains in the AHL with Cleveland. … The Komets were also without Shawn St-Amant and Will Petschenig, both injured.

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