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Komets lose at Kalamazoo

KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- The most grueling stretch of the season -- perhaps any season in Komets history -- is over.

The Komets' 25th game in 44 days ended with a 3-2 loss to the Kalamazoo Wings, in front of 4,039 fans, about 400 of them from Fort Wayne, at Wings Stadium on Saturday night.

The Wings opened the scoring 2:17 into the game on defenseman John Negrin’s shot from the blue line, and teammate Sam Ftorek soon added a power-play goal from the left circle.

After Fort Wayne’ defenseman Nick Wheeler scored a power-play goal – it was his first with the team, and came thanks to Brandon Marino’s pass from behind the net – the Wings answered 27 seconds later on left wing Aaron Clarke’s power-play goal.

In the final minute of the first period, Fort Wayne forward John Dunbar spun and slipped a shot between Wings goaltender Joel Martin and the right post, and that was followed by a fight between Daniel Maggio and Negrin.

There was no scoring in the second period, but there was a scary moment. Fort Wayne defenseman Ryan Hegarty lost an edge in the corner and, as he was falling, was crushed into the boards by Nick Sirota. Hegarty left the game for a short time.

Early in the third period, the Wings had a chance to take control of the game but right wing Alexandre Grenier’s breakaway was foiled by goalie Marco Cousineau.

At 9:28, the puck ricocheted off Fort Wayne forward Luca Caputi and was inches away from entering an open net to tie it, but it was swatted away.

The Komets had a power play in the final minute of the game but failed to capitalize.

Justin A. Cohn, pro sports coordinator for The Journal Gazette, has been covering the Fort Wayne Komets since 1997. His reporting includes game stories from home and away, features about the players and personalities associated with the Komets, plus coverage of issues affecting hockey at all levels. A native of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Cohn graduated from Emory University in Atlanta. He can be reached at 260-461-8429 or by email at