A night after playing maybe their best game of the season, the Komets played probably their worst.
A 5-2 loss to the Trenton Titans – it was the first-ever meeting between the teams and the only one of this season – could have been much, much worse for the Komets were it not for the heroics of goaltender Charlie Effinger.
He stopped 29 shots, as Fort Wayne (14-11-2) lost for the fourth time in six games.
That’s our problem; we’re not a consistent team, said Komets forward Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock, whose team won at Kalamazoo, Mich., on Friday. In this league, there’s a lot of parity and every night you have to bring it. There are a lot of good players in this league, especially with the (NHL) lockout. If we don’t play our system every single night, we’re going to get hammered. And we did tonight.
The first period was frenetically paced. Effinger had a thrilling kick save on Andy Bohmbach, and Trenton’s Scott Wedgewood, who had 39 saves, stoned Thomas Beauregard a couple of times from point-blank range.
We were essentially playing pingpong with their team, Schrock said. There were all these 3-on-2 rushes, and we were lucky to get out of the first period with the score what it was. We have to be consistent or we’ll be a .500 team all year.
With defenseman Tyler Butler in the penalty box for hooking, Trenton forward Marcel Noebels opened the scoring from the right circle at 2:58 of the second period.
Schrock, who had struggled so much with his scoring this season, scored for the second straight game (his third of the season) at 5:10. Center Jean-Michel Rizk had glided down the right boards before sending a pass from behind the net to Schrock, who smacked it into the net.
But the Titans (13-11-4) answered 1:06 later, as Effinger’s clear around the boards was intercepted by forward Jacob Cepis to set up a Phil DeSimone goal.
The Titans went up 3-1 on a short-handed goal at 13:09; forward Jacob Drewiske scored on a redirection at the end of a 2-on-2 rush. Fort Wayne came into the night with the worst-rated power play in the 23-team ECHL at 13.1 percent efficiency. It has given up six short-handed goals, fourth most in league.
After Fort Wayne’s Brent Henley and Cepis got tangled up heading toward the corner, with Henley suffering an injury, Daniel Maggio attacked Cepis and set up the Titans with a 5-on-3 power play. During that, forward Stephen Schultz scored from the left circle for a 4-1 lead at 14:37 of the second period.
Trenton scored on 2 of 5 power plays. Fort Wayne was 0 for 4.
The Titans’ third-period goal came from Drewiske after Effinger got caught without his stick. The Komets’ Brandon Marino scored late after forward Josh Brittain’s pass from behind the net.
Trenton is a good team, a good hockey team, Fort Wayne coach Al Sims said. They’ve got some speed on the wing and some big guys in the middle. They’ve got one line with about 70 points. They’ve got a young team that plays the body and good goaltending.
Notes: The Komets scratched former NHL forward Luca Caputi for a second straight game, after he had five goals and 10 points in 10 games. Among those in the stands were legendary NHL coach Scotty Bowman and Stephen Franke, the Komets’ majority owner.