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Now in stunning HD ... another loss

The Komets lost 3-2 to the Toledo Walleye on March 27, 2013, at Memorial Coliseum. Check out the highlights, short and sweet.

Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
The Komets’ Nick Schaus battles Toledo’s Wes O’Neill for the puck in the first period Wednesday.

Komets get glimpse of opportunity lost

– If only the Komets had gotten Matt Syroczynski out of retirement in, say, October. Then, maybe, things would be a little bit different.

That’s the prevailing notion around Memorial Coliseum, anyway, after he netted his ninth goal and 17th point in his 25th game this season for the Komets.

“That’s why we brought him in. He’s starting to get it back to where he was. Syro’s hands have really started to come around. … He’s stripping guys of the puck and stealing pucks, and (his legs) have got to be up to speed to do that, ” Fort Wayne coach Al Sims said of Syroczynski, who had called it quits after being selected the Playoff MVP for the Komets en route to the 2010 IHL championship.

Now, his plan – pending discussion with the family – is to play again next season.

That will come sooner than anyone had expected, since Fort Wayne has missed the playoffs for the first time since 2002. Their 3-2 loss Wednesday to the Toledo Walleye was the fourth in a row, and there are only two games remaining in Fort Wayne’s first ECHL season.

The Komets (32-34-4) start a home-and-home series with the Kalamazoo Wings in Michigan on Friday, then complete their first .500-or-worse season since 1996-97 – in the old IHL – on Saturday.

“The effort was there (Wednesday). A couple of breakdowns again,” said Syroczynski, who scored for Fort Wayne, along with defenseman Jamie Milam. “Each guy needs to look in the mirror and figure out what they’re playing for, whether it’s the Komets’ crest or individually for next year. Whatever it is, we all need to get better.”

The game was tied at 2 until a Milam turnover at his own blue line set up Aaron Bogosian for a shot and Kyle Rogers for a rebound goal at 15:28 of the third period.

Fort Wayne goaltender Charlie Effinger stopped 24 of 27 shots. Kent Simpson stopped 26 of 28 for Toledo (36-26-9), which jumped to sixth place in the Eastern Conference.

About the most positive news of the night for the Komets was that radio broadcaster Bob Chase, 87, will be back calling his 61st consecutive season, team president Michael Franke said.

Chase’s availability for all of the games will be determined by the schedule, though the plan is for him to call almost all the games.

Before the game, the Komets signed forward Lindsay Sparks, 22, who had been at the University of Michigan, where he won a national championship as a rookie in 2010. Sparks, a 5-foot-9 native of Oakville, Ontario, had four goals and eight points in 16 games this season with the Wolverines.

The Komets released rookie forward J.P. Labardo, who had one goal and three points in four games but was battling the flu. He may return Friday, if the Komets can finalize his immigration work papers, and if he’s feeling well enough.

Center Jean-Michel Rizk was called up to Norfolk of the American Hockey League.

“I thought we played hard. But it was the same old story,” Sims said.

“We don’t get a break around the net. How their second goal went in (off a rebound), I have no idea. But they found a way to get it in, and we score a goal and the net was somehow off the moorings. It’s a continuation of whatever.”