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Ice Chips

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    KALAMAZOO, Mich. – In what had become a heated game, Shawn Szydlowski capped a 3-2 overtime victory for the Komets on Friday by stealing the puck in the Kalamazoo Wings zone and then sending a wrist shot past the goal with 49 seconds remaining.
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    KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- The Komets and Kalamazoo Wings are tied at 2 after two periods at Wings Stadium.
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New look K's drop opener in shootout

The 62nd season of Komets hockey opened with a 4-3 loss to the Toledo Walleye in an overtime shootout. Check out the highlights, including the Jeremy Gates fight.

Video, analysis of K's

The prevailing notion in the Komets' locker room after they lost their season opener 4-3 to the Toledo Walleye in an overtime shootout was that Fort Wayne had been the better team Saturday night.

"I like the way that we played tonight, especially for it being our first game and against a very good Toledo team, with a good crop of players back from last season," said coach Gary Graham, whose Komets have only six players back from last season.

"It's nothing to hang our heads about. We played well in front of a big crowd and we out-hit them, out-scoring-chanced them and the stats don't lie. We just didn't get that second point we were looking for."

There's no denying that the Komets had the bulk of the scoring chances and that two Toledo goals were direct result of Fort Wayne gaffes, namely the Nik Pokulok turnover that led to a goal.

But the Komets need to finish better. I saw it in scrimmages, the preseason and now the opener: The Komets get good scoring chances put don't put the puck on net often enough.

(Check out the video recap of the game above.)

Graham said he needs his players to be creating traffic in front of the net better.

Mickey Lang, who had two goals and a goal in the shootout, has really been a revelation so far, no?

"For the majority of the game, I thought we played pretty good," Lang said. "We just didn't capitalize on a few chances and there were a few penalties that were questionable and didn't go our way. But we battled back, tied it up. Unfortunately, we didn't get the win, though."

The Komets hope to have Mike Vaskivuo (groin) back for the next game, this Saturday, against Cincinnati. And they will take a good look at Jace Coyle, the newly acquired defenseman, who should help the offense even more.

The players who stood out to me for Fort Wayne tonight were: Lang, Brandon Marino, Chris Auger, John Muse, John Dunbar and Simon Danis-Pepin.

But some other players need to step up.

Finally, click here to see Chad Ryan's photo gallery from the game.

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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