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Exciting game ends in shootout loss

Check out the myriad highlights from the Komets' 3-2 loss to the Cincinnati Cyclones in an overtime shootout on Feb. 14, 2014.

Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette
The Komets’ Christian Ouellet, center, battles Cincinnati’s Pat O’Keefe for the puck near goalie Scott Darling on Friday at Memorial Coliseum.
Cincinnati 3, Komets 2

Komets battle back but lose in shootout

– It wasn’t the Komets’ best game, but it was good enough to extend their streak to eight games in which they’ve gotten at least a point in the standings.

They are on a 5-0-3 surge, including the 3-2 loss to Cincinnati on Friday night in an overtime shootout that went seven rounds at Memorial Coliseum.

Cincinnati’s Dan Eves won the game, while teammates Josh Birkholz and Anthony Luciani also had shootout goals. Fort Wayne’s Dean Ouellet and Brandon Marino scored in the shootout, too, in front of 8,014 fans.

“I really felt confident going into that shootout. But we got the point. We banked the point. And it’s important for us to keep doing that,” said Komets coach Gary Graham, whose team is 4-0-2 against the Cyclones (27-18-2).

Fort Wayne (22-14-11) got 31 saves from goaltender Andrey Makarov, while Cincinnati’s Scott Darling had 35.

The game started about 45 minutes late because the Cyclones got caught in bad weather on the drive up.

Ouellet, who has been one of the hottest players in the ECHL, opened the scoring by slipping his own rebound just inside the right goalpost 12:25 into the first period. It was his first goal in his sixth game with the Komets, who signed him as a free agent after San Francisco folded.

Ouellet has tallied a least a point in 11 of his last 12 games, garnering 14 points in the surge.

Makarov kept it scoreless by gloving a Phil Bushbacher shot at the end of a 3-on-1 rush at 16:44, after which Bushbacher and William Lacasse fought.

The Cyclones finally solved Makarov at 13:40 of the second period, after he made a stop that allowed Brian Nugent to smack the puck out of the air and into the back of the net to tie it at 1.

“We weren’t at our best,” Graham said. “It was big to salvage a point, but we just didn’t handle that second period well at all. We turned the puck over way too much tonight and that killed us. It forced us to play in our own end.”

Cincinnati went up 2-1 at 3:36 of the third period; the puck was resting on the back of the Fort Wayne net before Eves knocked it off and sent it out front to Jonathan Hazen for a slap shot and a goal.

The line of Marino, Chris Auger and Ouellet stole the puck at the Cincinnati blue line, setting up a spinning pass from Auger to Marino for a tying goal from the right circle at 12 minutes.

“I give (the Cyclones) credit. They made a solid push in the second period and we didn’t respond,” Graham said. “We got better in the third period, and it was nice to battle from behind and it was good to salvage that point. Both goaltenders played very well.”

Notes: Komets forward Scott Fleming, who has 11 goals and 34 points in 40 games, didn’t play because of an ankle injury. The extent wasn’t known. … Because of all the school cancellations lately, the Komets and Comcast added another Report Card Night on Feb. 28 against Greenville. Kids with at least one “A” or equivalent grade will get a free ticket by presenting a report card or note from their teacher at the Coliseum box office.