The Journal Gazette
Friday, January 18, 2019 11:50 pm

K's not making excuses for loss

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

The Komets of 2018-19 may not be the most consistent team I’ve ever covered. But I also haven’t heard them make excuses this season and there sure have been times they could have.

Tonight, they were without their two leading scorers, Justin Hodgman (hand) and Jake Kamrass (upper body), along with Jordan Sims (hip), Trey Phillips (family leave) and Taylor Crunk (suspension).

And they lost 3-2 to the Indy Fuel in overtime.

“I think we’ve got enough horses in the barn here that are willing to put up points,” defenseman Cody Sol said. “Every guy has got to chip away. It’s definitely not easy missing that from the lineup, but you’ve just got play a different game. With any guys we have in the lineup, we’re capable of winning any game.”

Lukas Hafner stopped 26 shots for the Komets, who wore replica Charlestown Chiefs jerseys from “Slap Shot” that were auctioned off to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne and the Blue Bucket Brigade. Indy’s Matt Tomkins had 36 saves, including a first-period stop of Mason Baptista from point-blank range.

“We’re not going to make any excuses. We’ve been dealing with a skeleton crew the last couple of games,” said Fort Wayne coach Gary Graham, whose team is on a three-game losing streak. “We’ve been down some guys and we were banged up again in the third period tonight, but I thought the scoring chances in the slot that we didn’t finish on were the difference in the game.”

And the goal that put Indy up 2-1 in the third period, well, that was crummy luck, too. A Matt Rupert shot was blocked by Fort Wayne defenseman Oskari Halme but fortuitously landed on the stick of Logan Nelson, who had an empty net to shoot at for the lead at 14:51.

Brady Shaw forced overtime for the Komets by netting the rebound of a J.C. Campagna shot at 19:45.

Rupert won it with a shot from the left circle in overtime.

“That thing was labeled; I don’t think anyone’s going to make that save,” Graham said.

Of course, there were mistakes. The 2-on-1 rush that gave the Fuel its first goal wasn’t good. And the Komets wasted an opportunity to get the crowd revved up on Hanson Brothers night, especially since everyone was expecting some sort of retribution for what happened in Indianapolis last week, and instead we got a game with almost no physicality. But at least it was a massive improvement over the 10-8 loss to Kalamazoo on Wednesday at Memorial Coliseum.

Notes: Captain Jamie Schaafsma’s jersey sold for the most, $1,000. Shawn Szydlowski’s went for $919. Crunk’s went for $808. … Hodgman is day-to-day which means he might play Sunday at Toledo, Ohio, and is expected to be able to skate some in the All-Star Classic there on Monday. … I don’t have a timeline on Kamrass, but it sounds as if this could be a bit.

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