FORT WAYNE – When Evansville’s Matt Gens put a short-handed goal past Komets goaltender Charlie Effinger late in the third period Saturday night, it was insult to injury in a 5-0 victory by the IceMen in front of 9,424 fans at Memorial Coliseum.
Not only had Gens been jawing back and forth all night with the Komets’ Brett Smith, but the Komets’ three-game losing streak had been marked by their problems on the power play.
The Komets are scoreless in their last 20 power plays, through their last 13 periods, and Gens’ goal made it worse.
And then, 38 seconds later, Trent Voegelhuber netted another short-handed goal to cement the scoring.
It was a frustrating game for us, Komets coach Al Sims said, and an embarrassing loss, obviously.
The Komets’ losing streak comes on the heels of a five-game winning streak in their first ECHL season.
The Komets also gave up two power-play goals Saturday, one just as a power play was expiring.
Fort Wayne was 0 for 7 on the power play Saturday. Evansville was 2 for 8.
We worked on the power play all week and we worked on penalty killing, Sims said, so maybe we should have just left it alone. With three power-play goals against us and two short-handers, and 5-on-3 (for us) and we couldn’t even generate a shot on net. It’s something that we worked on. I really don’t have any answers for you.
Evansville goalie Paul Karpowich stopped all 23 shots he faced, as the Komets (7-5-1) were shut out for the second time this season.
Effinger stopped 22 of 27 shots as the IceMen improved to 5-9-1.
The Komets played without forwards Matt Kennedy (leg) and Eric Giosa (ankle), goalie Marco Cousineau (groin), plus defenseman Ryan Hegarty (hand), Nick Schaus (called up to Norfolk of American Hockey League) and Daniel Maggio, who was suspended one game and fined by the ECHL for cross-checking Byron Froese in the face during a 2-1 Toledo victory Friday.
Maggio got a game misconduct in that game and the man who handed down the supplementary discipline, ECHL vice president of hockey operations Joe Ernst, was at the game Saturday.
Evansville opened the scoring 13:27 into the first period, when right wing Dan Gendur’s shot from the blue line caromed off Effinger and onto the stick of center Nathan Moon, who scored into an open net.
Late in the first period, Smith took exception to the way Gens hit the attacking Brandon Marino in the face, and Smith proceeded to pummel Gens with a flurry of punches. Throughout the second period, Smith jawed with the brothers Gens – Matt and Aaron, whose low hit Oct. 20 knocked Chris Auger out for the season.
The IceMen got a two-goal lead, on a power play at 5:03 of the second period, when left wing Josh Beaulieu scored on a slap shot from the right circle.
Jason Dale scored on a redirection for a 3-0 Evansville lead 7:22 into the third period.