Nothing says a team is in trouble quite like a closed-door, players-only meeting in the locker room.
And that’s what the Komets had late Friday, after a 5-1 loss to the Kalamazoo Wings in front of 7,477 fans at Memorial Coliseum.
The Komets dropped to 10-13-0 at home and looked like they weren’t ready mentally to put on a show for the home crowd.
That’s what it seemed like, alternate captain Brett Smith said. What the answer to the next question is – Why weren’t we ready?’ – I don’t know.
Coach Al Sims said: We’re not worried about getting fired up for starts. We were ready at the start of the game. We just didn’t play our game; there were way too many turnovers in the first period between the blue lines. And we were constantly chasing them into our zone instead of being in the offensive zone. We’ve got to play the same way every night to be successful and we didn’t play that way in the first period.
The Komets (24-20-2) gave up four goals on the first nine shots by the Wings (20-20-5).
Tonight, the Komets play host to the North Division-leading Cincinnati Cyclones (26-15-5)
We came out flat, and it’s like (the Wings) were zipping by us, Smith said. Credit to them. They were getting the puck to the net. But that’s what good teams do, and that’s how rebounds happen, but we just couldn’t find it. We responded OK (eventually), but it was just too late, way too late.
The Komets had won their previous two games – both on the road – and wore pink jerseys, which are being auctioned to raise money for the fight against breast cancer. Matt Syroczynski, the 2010 Playoff MVP when the Komets won the IHL title, returned to the lineup after (save for one game) nearly three years of retirement.
On their first seven shots, the Wings got goals from Elgin Reid on a 50-foot shot, Aaron Clark on a rebound and Yann Sauve on another 50-footer.
Then Komets goaltender Marco Cousineau was yanked in favor of Charlie Effinger, who was beaten by Alexandre Grenier as the Wings went ahead 4-0.
Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock fought Clark just before the first period ended, but it sparked nothing for the Komets. In the second period, a blistering check from Kalamazoo’s John Armstrong forced a turnover and allowed him to score for a 5-0 advantage.
The Komets scored 9:14 into the third period when Thomas Beauregard steered around a falling Reid, fought off a poke-check from Joel Martin and slid the puck into a virtually empty net.
Notes: Komets goalie Kenny Reiter was called up to Bridgeport of the AHL. Forward Mike Hoban, who injured his shoulder Wednesday, sat out. Captain Colin Chaulk (foot) missed a 27th straight game. Former Komets star Leo Thomas, suspended for the rest of the Southern Professional Hockey League season for punching a fan while with Pensacola, will play in the CHL for Bloomington, coached by Fort Wayne native Brian Gratz.