FORT WAYNE – The Komets had plenty of scoring chances – 30 shots on goal – but only right wing Thomas Beauregard scored in a 4-1 loss to the Cincinnati Cyclones in front of an announced crowd of 5,260 at Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday night.
Coach Al Sims had an explanation.
"We're mentally fatigued and it showed," said Sims, whose Komets played their eighth game in 13 nights. "We just weren't sharp around the net and their goalie (Michael Houser) played unbelievably. … He was on top of everything except the one shot by Beauregard. He just frustrated us more than anything."
To their credit, not all the Komets (13-11-2) used the schedule as a justification, especially since the defense gave up 35 shots to Cincinnati (15-8-2).
"Every year, every team has a tough stretch," Beauregard said. "That's what we're here for. We're here to play hockey and play as many games as possible. I don't think anyone here likes to practice; we like to play games, and it's got to be good to have a good stretch (of games) and be together and we're looking forward to it."
It was the first game between the Komets and Cyclones since 1999 in the original IHL.
After missing 21 straight games with an ankle injury, forward Eric Giosa returned to the Fort Wayne lineup.
"It felt great to be back out there. It took the first period to get the legs back under me but that's to be expected," Giosa said. "As a team, we had chances, they just didn't go our way. We understand that's the way it goes in this game and we'll come back flying this weekend."
A key offseason acquisition, Giosa had three goals in four games before suffering the injury Oct. 20. He had two shots on goal Wednesday.
The Komets certainly need Giosa, after captain Colin Chaulk underwent foot surgery Tuesday to clean out an abscess on his foot. Chaulk, who had missed six straight games with a shoulder injury, is expected to miss three more weeks.
The Komets opened the scoring 13 minutes, 39 seconds into the game when center Jean-Michel Rizk's pass from behind the Cincinnati net set up Beauregard for a goal from 20 feet out. Beauregard played for the Cyclones from 2007 to 2009.
The Cyclones answered 43 seconds later, during a power play, when forward David Pacan whacked a rebound past goaltender Charlie Effinger, who played college hockey at Miami, Ohio, just outside of Cincinnati.
Forward John Shalla made it 2-1 during a 2-on-1 rush in the second period – again, it was off a rebound.
A Ryan Lasch turnover at his own blue line set up a tic-tac-toe passing play for the Cyclones, a goal for forward John McFarland off a Fort Wayne skate and a 3-1 lead at 5:52 of the third period. Garrett Wilson added an empty-net goal.
Effinger (6-5-1) stopped 31 shots. Houser, playing in his first professional game, stopped 29 for the Cyclones.
Notes: The Komets played without forwards Stephon Thorne (healthy scratch), Matt Kennedy (groin) and Matt Firman (healthy scratch). …
For those going to Friday's game at Kalamazoo, Mich., the Stanley Cup will be at Wings Stadium. People can take pictures with the Cup beginning at 6:30 p.m., when doors open.