Blown lead upstages great fight, Coyle goals

The Komets coughed up a 3-0 lead in a 4-3 loss to the Elmira Jackals in overtime. Check out the highlights, including the Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock fight.

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Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
The Komets’ Brandon Marino is defended by Elmira’s Jordan Pietrus as he tries to bring the puck in front of the net during the second period Friday at Memorial Coliseum.

Komets pay big price for getting away from plan

Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
The Komets’ Shawn Szydlowski shoots against Elmira during the first period Friday at Memorial Coliseum.

Forward Jason Dale, who had skated only about five minutes with his new team during his first and only practice Friday morning, had a goal and assist for the Komets at night.

And defenseman Jace Coyle scored twice.

That’s where the good news ended for the Komets, who coughed up a three-goal lead and lost 4-3 in overtime to the Elmira Jackals in front of 7,322 fans at Memorial Coliseum.

“If we want to stick to the game plan and execute, we can beat any team on any given night. But if we start cutting corners, we leave ourselves vulnerable and that’s exactly what happened,” said Komets coach Gary Graham, whose team dropped to 18-14-9 after forward Dane Walters scored on a 25-foot shot 3:44 into overtime.

The Komets are 2-3-2 against the Jackals (15-22-4), who got a goal and two assists from Mike Vaskivuo. The former Fort Wayne star has four goals and 10 points against the Komets since being traded Jan. 9.

The Komets, who have scored on three of their last 46 power plays, opened the scoring with the man-advantage on a Coyle goal from the left circle at 7:22 of the first period.

Coyle put the Komets up 2-0 with a shot from the blue line at 11:30. And Dale netted a 35-foot shot 8:27 into the second period.

“Then it just kind of seemed that we got away from our gameplan,” Dale said. “Initially, we were getting the pucks deep and working it in the corners. Then, it seemed like we were getting too fancy and it came up to bite us.”

After Fort Wayne captain Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock fought Corey Bellamy, who was suspended one game by the ECHL for taking a run at goalie Ben Meisner last week, the Jackals took charge.

Vaskivuo scored off a redirection at 15:42 of the second period and set up forward Artem Demkov for a similar goal at 17:34. Forward Jakub Culek tied it at 7:34 of the third period.

“We cut corners,” Graham said. “We know exactly the way to play against Elmira. You can’t give them stuff off the rush. And what did we do? The exact same thing, backdoor 2-on-1s. We see it on the film. We see it over and over and over again. We know exactly how to play against this team and we got away from the game plan.”

The Komets thought they had it won at 17:50 of the third period, but Matt Carter’s goal was waved off because it had been kicked into the net.

“We lost the level of intensity that we needed,” Graham said. “There was unwillingness to shoot the puck. You see us come down the ice, 4-on-4, with a great chance to shoot the puck and we drag it to the middle where everybody is at and we lose the puck in transition. You can’t play rush-for-rush, up-and-down hockey with Elmira.”

Notes: Komets forward Dean Ouellet, who signed Thursday, didn’t play because he hadn’t been on the ice for about nine days because his former team, San Francisco, folded. He could play tonight at Cincinnati. … The Komets had a moment of silence for longtime ticket and office manager Flossie Zimmerman, who died Jan. 21.

jcohn@jg.net

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