The Komets and Elmira Jackals are going to get to know each other awfully well in the next couple weeks. The relationship got off to a bad start for the Komets as they lost 5-3 to the Jackals tonight at Memorial Coliseum.
It was the first of four straight games, and five of the next six, between the Komets and Jackals, a run that concludes Jan. 31 at the Coliseum. The teams had only met twice this season, with the Komets going 0-1-1 in those games.
It was the first meeting between the teams since the Jan. 6 trade in which Fort Wayne sent 2012 Playoff MVP Mike Vaskivuo and defenseman Nik Pokulok to the Jackals for forwards Christian Ouellet and Matt Carter. Earlier in the season, the Komets sent captain Nick Tuzzolino to Elmira for defenseman Jordon Southorn, but Tuzzolino is currently up with Rochester of the American Hockey League.
Vaskivuo, who had left the Komets on Dec. 26 in hopes of being traded, got some hearty jeers from the Coliseum crowd after he opened the scoring 2:00 into the game. Fort Wayne goaltender Ben Meiser had stopped Pokulok's shot from the blue line – it was Elmira's first shot of the game – but Vaskivuo was there to put the puck into an open net. It was his first goal, in his fifth game, with the Jackals.
The Komets tied it at 17:55, when captain Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock straddled the blue line and sent a high wrist shot through a crowd and past goalie Maxime Clermont.
The Jackals regained their lead on a power play 4:14 into the second period, during a power play. After Meisner stopped forward Danny Hobbs on a breakaway, forward Rob Bellamy put in the rebound. The Jackals went up 19 seconds later on a Jordan Pietrus goal.
And at 10:42 of the second period, forward Ludwig Karlsson made it 4-1 with a one-timer from the slot, after Bellamy passed it from the right corner.
Fort Wayne forward Sy Nutkevitch scored his first goal with the Komets – this was his 12th game – at the end of a 2-on-1 rush, when the Komets were short-handed at 12:48.
In the third period, the Jackals got an empty-net goal from Bellamy at 18:24, which was followed by a goal by Carter from the left circle.
For more on this game, read Saturday's Journal Gazette or return to www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m.