So many missed chances

The Komets lost 5-3 to the Elmira Jackals on Jan. 17, 2014, but they had no shortage of goal-scoring opportunities.

You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Komets

  • Komets’ newcomer shakes off rust
    During the first weekend of the Komets’ season, forward Matthew Pistilli had two goals, three points and a plus-3 rating in two games.
  • Komets’ forward has goals organized
    Amid the franchise-record 12 trades the Komets made during the up-and-down 2013-14 season, a gem was found in the form of forward Mike Embach.
  • Schrock gets 2nd goal as Komets win
      Komets captain Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock scored five times last year, through the course of 68 games. But in the first two games of this season, he’s found the back of the net twice.And the Komets have won twice.
Advertisement
Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Komets forward Mike Embach shoots on Elmira goalie Maxime Clermont in the first period Friday at the Coliseum.

Komets can’t solve Jackals puzzle

Fall to 0-2-1 against third-worst team in the ECHL

Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Forward Sy Nutkevitch scored his first goal with the Komets while the team was short-handed.

– The Elmira Jackals have the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference, third worst among the ECHL’s 22 teams.

Yet the Komets have been unable to solve them.

A 5-3 loss to the Jackals at Memorial Coliseum on Friday night dropped the Komets to 0-2-1 in the season series and kept them three points out of the conference’s eighth and final playoff spot with 36 games remaining.

“You’ve got to play a specific way against Elmira,” Fort Wayne coach Gary Graham said. “And if you look at our three goals, we shot the puck. (The rest of the time), it was trying to be too cute with the puck.”

The Komets (15-13-8) had been on a 4-0-3 run heading into this week, but lost 3-1 at Kalamazoo, Mich., on Wednesday before playing the Jackals in the final game before the All-Star Break. They play next at Elmira, N.Y., next Friday.

“We didn’t have our legs going. We’ve gotten away from some of the details that had been making us successful the last couple weeks,” Graham said.

“We’re getting to the races too late. Poor placement on some dumps got us into trouble. And again, they just outworked us. That’s what happened.”

Making matters worse was that the Jackals were led by Mike Vaskivuo, who was the Playoff MVP for the Komets en route to the 2012 CHL championship and was traded, at his request, to the Jackals on Jan. 6. He was booed by the 7,202 fans in attendance.

Vaskivuo, playing his fifth game with Elmira (12-19-4), scored his first goal with the team and assisted on another.

“We didn’t really stick to the game plan early in the game,” Fort Wayne defenseman Simon Danis-Pepin said.

“We had a plan to chip the pucks in and get to them deep. We had too many turnovers and gave them the opportunities. That’s how they wanted us to play and we let that happen. It hurt us.”

It was the first of four straight games, and five of six, between the Komets and Jackals, a run that concludes Jan. 31 at the Coliseum.

It was the first meeting since the Komets dealt Vaskivuo and defenseman Nik Pokulok 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.

After Pokulok had the Jackals’ first shot of the game, Vaskivuo put in the rebound for a 1-0 lead at 2:00 of the first period. 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. After Meisner stopped forward Danny Hobbs on a breakaway, forward Rob Bellamy put in the rebound. The Jackals went up 3-1 19 seconds later on a Jordan Pietrus goal.

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 in 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 Carter goal from the left circle.

Meisner stopped 26 of 30 shots.

Clermont stopped 20 of 22 but didn’t play in the third period because of an injury. His replacement, Russ Stein, stopped 14 of 15.

jcohn@jg.net

Advertisement