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Komets lose to Evansville

A sellout crowd of 10,480 fans at Memorial Coliseum witnessed an all-too-familiar occurrence -- a loss by the Komets.

The Evansville IceMen defeated the Komets 4-2 on Saturday night.

The IceMen swept the home-and-home series and handed the Komets (26-25-2) their sixth loss in their last eight games, as they fell to 10th place in the Eastern Conference, where the top eight teams will make the postseason.

The Komets have only 19 regular-season games remaining.

The IceMen have a conference-worst record of 19-30-5 and have won only three of their last 12 games.

The Komets’ goals came from forwards Eric Giosa, who scored on a fortuitous blind shot from the right dasher boards, and Brandon Marino, whose power-play tally ricocheted off the right goalpost and past netminder Paul Dainton.

The Komets had captain Colin Chaulk back in the lineup after a 32-game absence.

Chaulk, who has guided the Komets to five championships in the UHL, IHL and CHL since 2003, had missed six games with a shoulder injury and 26 with a foot infection. His return hadn’t been expected until next week but he got doctor’s clearance early.

He had two goals and 17 points in 19 games prior to Saturday’s annual Comcast Report Card Night, which rewards kids with ‘A’ grades with a free ticket.

While Chaulk was out, the Komets went 15-16-1, and they weren’t much better against the IceMen, who tallied 14 of the first 22 shots.

Evansville’s Kevin Baker scored from the left circle on a power play, tying it at 1 in the first period. Defenseman Donnie Harris made it 2-1 in the second period, before Jean-Michel Rizk got a penalty shot because his shoulder was tugged from behind on a breakaway. Rizk missed the penalty shot and, shortly thereafter, the IceMen went up 3-1 on a Baker goal.

Center Dylan Clarke put the IceMen up 4-2 late in the second period by putting a shot from the right circle above sprawled goalie Charlie Effinger.

Notes: Goalie Marco Cousineau missed the game because he aggravated a groin injury, so IPFW’s Larkin Saalfrank was the backup to Effinger. … Because they are allowed to only play four veterans, defenseman Brent Henley was scratched. The other veterans are Chaulk, Brett Smith, Tyler Butler and Jamie Milam. … Also out were Mike Hoban (shoulder), Scott Kishel (hand) and John Dunbar (lower body).

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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