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Despite loss, Sims lauds players

After the Komets lost to the Toledo Walleye 4-2 tonight, I asked coach Al Sims how much the players' jobs were in danger.

It was, after all, Fort Wayne's fifth loss in its last six games.

“The guys are working as hard as they can,” Sims said. “I can’t say anything about the effort. It was unbelievable, the effort we put out. It’s unfortunate we didn’t get rewarded. But we didn’t get any bounces.”

Actually, that’s not entirely the case.

Down 1-0 in the second period, with the Walleye on a power play, former Notre Dame goalie Jordan Pearce dangerously left the puck near his net – either because he didn’t know a Komet was coming, or because he was in danger of playing it outside the trapezoid and getting a penalty – and Matt Firman picked it up and slipped it into the bottom of the net.

It was the first short-handed goal given up by Toledo this season, and the first of two Firman goals on the night.

“I was three-quarters of the way down the ice then I realized what was going on; the puck had stopped in the dead area and I was the first guy to get to the puck. Then, I tried to make something happen,” Firman said.

But Sims continued ...

“Our defensemen were dying, I mean dying (of fatigue), and that made it really tough. We were already short six guys (because of injuries and the call-up of Nick Schaus) and now it was seven with (Daniel Maggio's early game misconduct),” Sims said.

The Komets hope to have defenseman Ryan Hegarty back from his hand injury in time for Wednesday’s game at Gwinnett (Ga.), where they also play Friday night.

Justin A. Cohn, pro sports coordinator for The Journal Gazette, has been covering the Fort Wayne Komets since 1997. His reporting includes game stories from home and away, features about the players and personalities associated with the Komets, plus coverage of issues affecting hockey at all levels. A native of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Cohn graduated from Emory University in Atlanta. He can be reached at 260-461-8429 or by email at jcohn@jg.net.

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