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Toledo at Komets
Faceoff: 5 p.m.
Radio: WOWO, 1190-AM
The 7,179 fans in Memorial Coliseum probably needed an energy drink just to be able to get home safely Saturday night. They sured needed something to wake them up.
Instead of showing any desperation, the Fort Wayne Komets played like a team that had already clinched a playoff spot. For most of the night there was no motion to their game, let alone any emotion.
In one of the more boring efforts of the season, the Komets lost to the Cincinnati Cyclones 5-2. After beating Cincinnati in overtime on Wednesday, the Komets kept getting caught standing around on the Cyclones' goals.
``Against a good team like Cincinnati, if you can't establish a chip and chase game against them, that's a very good skating, high-transition team,'' Komets coach Gary Graham said. ``There's a reason that they lead the league in goals, and we played right into their hands. Guys weren't skating and they were the quicker team.''
The Komets tried only 15 shots through two periods despite the fact that Cyclones' goaltender Magnus Hellberg was struggling to find the puck all night. Several times he fought off Komets' shots rather than made clean saves, but the Komets were never in position to follow up on rebounds.
Trailing 3-0 after two periods, the Komets attempted one more shot during the first 10 minutes of the third period than they did during the first two combined, scoring twice, but it was too late.
``We set the table with a disappointing first and second periods,'' Graham said. ``I thought the guys did a good job in the third period. We had a really solid period there, but not good enough.''
This could have been a critical two points for the Komets. Had they won, they'd have been 4-0-1 over their last five games and would have matched their season-high with a four-game winning streak. They also could have been 7-2-1 over their last 10 games and 6-0-2 against the Cyclones for the season.
Worse, Florida beat South Carolina 4-0 to move back within two points for the final playoff spot in the ECHL's Eastern Conference. The Everblades have four games remaining, including today's rematch with the Stringrays. The Komets have three games remaining including today's 5 p.m. faceoff with Toledo. Both teams have nothing but home games remaining.
``There's three games left and we're not looking to get help from anybody,'' Graham said. ``We can control our destiny and that's what we want. We just have to go out there and make it happen.''
The Komets better show more urgency than they did Saturday night as they got caught in a very unexciting defensive game that limited their skating ability and offensive aggressiveness. The Cyclones won almost every battle for the puck in every zone.
Cincinnati scored first at the end of the first period when Dan Eves beat Komets forward Brandon Marino to the goal for a top-corner shot against Ben Meisner. With Shawn Szydlowski sitting out a tripping penalty late in the second period, Paul Crowder got to a rebound at Meisner's feet for another goal, and then Zach Budish scored his first professional goal in the last minute of the period.
Chris Auger and Jordan Southorn almost sparked a rally with third-period goals for the Komets who are 13-11-9 at home.
Before Saturday's game, the Komets placed forward Mitch Bruijsten and defenseman Nathan Martine on waivers.