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Komets' point streak ends at Kalamazoo

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – The Komets had snagged a point in seven straight games heading into Wednesday, but the streak ended with a 3-1 loss to the Kalamazoo Wings in front of 1,549 fans at Wings Stadium.

Fort Wayne, which had been on a 4-0-3 run, had plenty of offensive chances but only forward Mike Embach was able to finish.

The Komets outshot the Wings 29-20.

The Komets (15-12-8) opened the scoring on their first shot of the game, 1:14 into the first period, after a 60-foot Simon Danis-Pepin pass connected with Embach, who had slipped behind defenseman Brandon Martell.

Embach's slapshot from the left circle went underneath goaltender Jordan Binnington.

Goaltender Max Strang, who made his first ECHL start, stopped the Wings' first 11 shots before he gave up a goal to forward Eric Kattelus at 9:32 of the second period.

Kattelus had only been out of the penalty box 15 seconds before he put a 13-foot shot past Strang, who was filling in for Andrey Makarov (head injury) and Ben Meisner, suspended one game by the ECHL for shooting the puck into the stands after giving up a goal in Sunday's 4-2 victory over the Wings (19-13-3) at Memorial Coliseum.

Strang, who was in training camp with the Komets, has spent most of the season with Bloomington of the Single-A Southern Professional Hockey League. He played 21:15 of a 2-1 overtime loss at Wings Stadium on Saturday, stopping 9 of 11 shots after Meisner was injured on a crosscheck from Chris Lawrence.

Strang gave up a goal to defenseman Sam Ftorek on a shot from just inside the blue line at 3:40 of the third period, and 2:27 later Kattelus accepted Sirota's pass from the right boards and tucked a backhand shot just inside the left post for a 3-1 lead on the Wings' 16th shot of the game.

Komets captain Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock was back on the ice, after missing two games with an eye injury suffered in a fight with Emerson Clark at Toledo, Ohio, in a 3-2 Fort Wayne victory Friday.

Notes: Makarov, who has missed four straight games with a head injury, has been cleared to begin working out. He's unlikely to play Friday against Elmira at the Coliseum, but could skate that morning, general manager David Franke said. … Before the game, Kalamazoo got defenseman Jarrett Rush from Peoria of the SPHL, but his equipment didn't arrive and he had to borrow it all from teammates.

jcohn@jg.net

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 jcohn@jg.net.

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