For the Komets and their fans, a 1-4-0 may feel bad. But when the fourth consecutive loss comes to the rival Toledo Walleye, which dominated most of the game at Memorial Coliseum, maybe it’s that much worse.
Dylan Sadowy had two goals and three points to lead the Walleye to the 7-3 victory tonight in front of 7,789 fans.
And now the Komets have to face Toledo again – 7:15 p.m. Saturday, when the Huntington Center is sure to be fired up because it’ll be the Walleye’s first home game of the season and first since being ousted by the Komets in the division finals of the playoffs last spring.
The scoreless first period saw the Komets come awfully close to scoring twice: Garret Ross hit the post after getting to his own rebound and firing a shot from 28 feet during a power play; and Aidan Muir’s shot while falling to the ice from 6 feet out was thwarted by goaltender Kaden Fulcher, a rookie who led Hamilton to the Ontario Hockey League championship last season.
Fulcher stopped 26 shots.
Things turned quickly in the second period – Toledo (3-1-1) scored twice on two shots within the span of 1:43 – and it was largely thanks to Shane Berschbach. During a power play 20 seconds into the period, he accepted a pass from T.J. Hensick to score during an odd-man rush. Then, Bershbach’s cross-ice pass set up Hunter Smith for a goal into a wide-open net at 2:03.
Rookie defenseman Chase Stewart netted a goal for Fort Wayne in a second straight game, intercepting a clearing pass and blasting it in from 45 feet out at 7:51, but Toledo’s T.J. Hensick answered by putting his own rebound past goalie Zach Fucale for a 3-1 lead at 9:43. Hensick, a two-time finalist for the Hobey Baker award as college hockey’s top player while at the University of Michigan, skated on this ice in 2005 against Notre Dame, before he played 114 NHL games for Colorado and St. Louis.
After the Komets inadvertently shot the puck into the stands and were whistled for delay of game, Toledo’s A.J. Jenks shot a puck that was blocked by Jason Binkley, but Jenks got to it in time to snap it past Fucale for a 4-1 lead at 14:32.
Things looked particularly dire for Fort Wayne after Toledo’s Kevin Tansey netted a short-handed goal, after Fucale gave up a rebound at the end of an odd-man rush 2:36 into the third period, but Fort Wayne’s J.C. Campagna answered just 10 seconds later off a rebound from the right circle.
And Marco Roy scored for Fort Wayne at 3:14, cutting the Toledo lead to 5-3, by shifting from his forehand to his backhand, but the rally didn’t last long; Sadowy scored back-to-back goals to make it 7-3.
Fucale was yanked having stopped 21 of 28 shots. He was replaced Lukas Hafner.
The Komets’ lineup remained short-handed; they were without captain Jamie Schaafsma (upper body), forward Garret Ladd (concussion), and forward Phelix Martineau (undisclosed).
There was a late fight between Fort Wayne’s Cody Sol and Toledo’s Ben Storm.
Notes: The Komets announced they will have a 2 p.m. Tuesday press conference at Heritage Park, home of the Air National Guard, 122nd Fighter Wing, to announce they will become “the Blacksnakes” during Military Appreciation Weekend games Nov. 2 and 3. The Komets will wear special jerseys, which will be unveiled Tuesday. The 122nd traces its heritage to the 358th Fighter Group that was activated in January 1943 at Richmond Army Air Base in Virginia. … Toledo defenseman Mackenze Stewart retired this week. … The referee was Sean MacFarlane.