FORT WAYNE – Komets coach Gary Graham pounded a table as he spoke to reporters. He was disgusted.
Meanwhile, his players were in the locker room, sitting quietly. They were equally disgusted after a 3-2 overtime loss to the Kalamazoo Wings.
It was another third-period collapse for the Komets, a team that has had many. But in their opinion, the officiating crew of referee Stephen Reneau and linesmen Patrick Richardson and Jim Scarpace, helped it along Friday night at Memorial Coliseum.
Hopefully (Reneau) knows he decided the game. And if he doesn’t, he has to shake his head and wake up. That was unacceptable. There were missed calls over the ice and, especially, with 13 seconds left, he just decided not to look and that’s what happens, said defenseman Jordon Southorn, who had both of Fort Wayne’s goals.
It cost us a point and I don’t think anyone here is happy about it.
The Komets’ ire was particularly directed toward the happenings on a faceoff with 13 seconds remaining, when the puck was dropped in the Fort Wayne zone. The Wings got a shot from the point, as the Komets’ attempts to defend were interfered with, and it led to a game-tying Nick Sirota goal off a redirection with 7.7 seconds left.
There were three faceoff interferences at the same time, Graham said. They got mauled. I’ve never seen anything like that in my life. We had guys literally getting mauled with two hands around them. They were pulling guys down backward. It was like a wrestling move. Why do you think their guys were open there?
After the goal, Komets captain Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock was ejected for arguing the play. And after David Pacan skated in uncovered and won it 1:09 into overtime, slipping a backhand shot underneath goaltender Andrey Makarov, Schrock came back on to the ice with no jersey on and received a second misconduct, which could land him supplementary disciple from the ECHL.
It was blatant, double, triple faceoff interference. We were complaining the entire game, telling them that they cheat on faceoffs over and over and over again, Graham said of Sirota’s goal. Yet do you see them get kicked out one faceoff? No, you do not.
It’s home-ice advantage for the home team for a reason. They (are supposed) to set their sticks down, square up their toes. Then we set our sticks down and square up our toes. And then you drop the puck. But the interference is unbelievable. How are you going to let a great game by both teams go on that? I feel bad for the guys in our locker room.
Southorn opened the scoring for Fort Wayne (19-14-10) at 13:22 of the first period off the rebound of a Mike Embach shot, but the Wings (25-16-4) tied it at 1:32 of the second period on a Yannick Veilleux tally.
Then things heated up.
Fort Wayne’s Shawn Szydlowski laid out Chris Lawrence with a hip check at the blue line, and then they fought at 3:29 of the second period. After Southorn scored for a 2-1 lead with a 40-foot wrist shot at 8:33, Fort Wayne’s Jeremy Gates fought Mitchell Good.
Makarov stopped 19 of 22 shots.
Jordan Binnington stopped 26 of 28 for the Wings.
Notes: The Komets played without Jason Dale, who had a groin injury, according to general manager David Franke, and Simon Danis-Pepin, who has an arm/shoulder injury. Dean Ouellet’s point-scoring streak ended at seven games.