The Komets’ first two games of the season – both victories – certainly gave a sense of the team’s potential.
Game No. 3, a 5-3 loss tonight to the Toledo Walleye, served as a reminder that there’s much to work on for the young Komets.
Brady Shaw, Shawn Szydlowski and Matthew Boudens scored, but a poor stretch in the second period and a penalty marred third period led to the loss for Fort Wayne.
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“Obviously, this is going to be a measuring stick for us right now,” Szydlowski said. “The goals came easier the first couple games and we got out to a couple quick ones tonight again, but every game is not going to be like that. It’s a little taste for the new guys. That’s pro hockey: when you get up against the good teams then the game’s not over.”
For coach Ben Boudreau, whose Komets (2-1-0) next play 7 p.m. Wednesday at Kalamazoo, Michigan, the biggest points of disappointment were in how the Komets played with the lead and the penalties.
Toledo (2-0-0) scored on 2 of 7 power plays. Fort Wayne was 1 for 6.
“That’s a veteran (Toledo) team going against a young team right there,” Boudreau said. “It’s a costly lesson for us, but one we’re going to have to pay the price to learn. For us right now, we’ve just got to find a way to regroup. We’re going to be positive. We’re not going to be negative, down on each other. But there are teaching moments for sure and we’ve got to find a way to get better every day.”
A.J. Jenks, who had played the previous five seasons with Toledo, had an assist and five shots on goal in his first game against his former team.
Toledo scored three consecutive goals in the second period – the scorers were Alex Kromm, Shane Berschbach and Abbott Girduckis – to take a 4-2 lead in front of 8,270 fans at Memorial Coliseum.
After Boudens scored, Toledo cemented the victory with a Branden Troock power-play goal in the third period.
“I didn’t like our game one bit,” Boudreau said. “We’d talked about a 60-minute effort and we took our foot off the gas for about a 5-minute stretch in the second period, gave up three goals on five shots, and we’re chasing the rest of the game. I thought our focus was talking about the refs – we felt we didn’t get a consistent game out of them – and we didn’t control our emotions. We took some selfish penalties in the third (period) and that hurt us. They capitalized on the power play.”
The feeling in the locker room was that the mistakes that need to be cleaned up before playing Kalamazoo are mostly mental.
“That’s a veteran (Toledo) team, we’re a young team,” Szydlowski said. “You could see, we got up in a lead there but make some mistakes, take a couple penalties, and get a little down on ourselves. That’s when a good team will shove it down your throat and that’s what happened.”
Cole Kehler stopped 27 shots for Fort Wayne. Pat Nagle stopped 39 for the Walleye.