Last week, the Fort Wayne Komets battled back to earn a point in a shootout. This week they gave the game and the point away.
The Komets blew a 3-1 lead going into the third period and lost to the Cincinnati Cyclones 5-4 in a shootout before 8,484 Memorial Coliseum fans. On a night when they honored two former goaltenders by retiring their numbers, the Komets' defense fell apart.
``That's unacceptable for us,'' Komets coach Gary Graham said. ``That's just unacceptable.''
During pregame ceremonies, the Komets honored Chuck Adamson and Nick Boucher by adding No. 1 and No. 33 to the rafters.
The odd thing was the Komets dominated the first 45 minutes of play. Just 1:54 after the opening face-off, Scott Fleming passed from behind the Cincinnati net to set up Tristan King on his first goal of the season. Ten minutes later, Brandon Marino scored off a goalmouth scramble to make it 2-0.
All week during practice, Komets coach Gary Graham had worked with is team on defensive coverage. The Komets swarmed the Cyclones, who could never seem to get set up in the offensive zone. Even with seven power-play chances in the first two periods, the Cyclones never got comfortable in the Fort Wayne zone because there was always a Komet rushing at them, hacking at the puck or harassing them until they threw it away.
The Komets pushed the margin to 3-0 on Kaleigh Schrock's first goal of the season, off another Fleming set-up. Cincinnati scored its first goal 30 seconds later, but the Komets just missed on several excellent scoring chances as Cyclones goaltender Rob Madore kept his team in the game long enough to wake up.
The Cyclones were scoreless on nine power-play chances, but fighting off all those penalties wore out the Komets who were gassed in the third period. After out-shooting the Cyclones 30-17 during the first two periods, the Komets were out-shot 20-8 in the third period and overtime.
Josh McFadden scored a long slapshot off a face-off play to cut the margin to 3-2, and then Brett Wysopal scored of a scramble in front to tie it with 4:52 remaining. The Komets came right back as Brandon Marino lifted a whirling backhand over Madore from 10 feet, but Cincinnati's Barry Almeida scored on the next shift to force the overtime.
``The most disappointing thing was at our own blue line we had forwards thinking offense when puck possession was unclear,'' Graham said. ``You never do that at your own blue line. We're a young team, a new team and we're trying to find our way right now as you can see. When we make mistakes, they end up hurting us really bad. We can play well for 45 minutes like we did, but it's not going to get you two points.''
The Cyclones won the shootout 2-0, giving the Komets their second loss in the extra session in two games.
``We just have to score some goals and give our goaltenders some goal support,'' Graham said. ``We practice it two days a week so it's not like we don't practice. We didn't have the momentum going into the shootout and that's the big thing... They deserved the two points.''
Fort Wayne starts its first road stretch of the season today at Evansville before flying to Las Vegas for three games next weekend.