K’s rally but lose in OT

November 18, 2017

Mike McMurtry’s backhand shot during the 3-on-3 overtime cemented a 4-3 overtime victory tonight for the Kansas City Mavericks, after the Komets were able to salvage a point in the standings despite falling behind at Memorial Coliseum.

Anyone who knows the history of this rivalry knows no Mavericks’ lead ever seems safe, whether it’s in a Central Hockey League playoff series or an ECHL regular-season game, like the one last year in which Fort Wayne won 6-5 in overtime after trailing by four goals in the third period.

Tonight was no exception.

The Komets are now 8-2-1 against the Mavericks in the ECHL. Fort Wayne is 5-5-2 this season, Kansas City is 7-6-0.

Gabriel Desjardins’ goal 10:49 into the third period, with his Komets playing short-handed, tied it at 3 after Fort Wayne had trailed by two goals. It came after teammate Garrett Thompson had drawn goaltender Tyler Parsons way out of the net and set up a scramble to get the puck into an open net that Desjardins won in his second game back, after he missed seven games with an injury.

Kansas City scored on 2 of 7 power plays. Fort Wayne was 1 of 8.

The Komets were returning from a five-game road trip that concluded with a 6-3 loss Thursday morning at Toledo, and a 2-3 record, and before today’s game they acquired forward Louick Marcotte from the Wichita Thunder for forward Ralph Cuddemi.

Marcotte, 22, had a goal and five points in nine games this season, after totaling 18 goals and 38 points in 68 games last season with Wichita. Cuddemi, 24, who had been acquired over the summer from Utah for Kyle Thomas, had two goals and six points in 10 games for Fort Wayne. It was the second trade of the week for Fort Wayne, which sent Tyson Fawcett to Jacksonville for an undisclosed amount of cash.

Things started fine in front of 7,023 fans for the Komets, who took a 1-0 lead on the game’s first shot : defenseman Cody Sol’s blast from the blue line 4:02 into the first period, his first goal of the season.

The Mavericks, who lost 8-2 and won 3-2 at the Coliseum on Oct. 20-21, tied it during a power play at 5:54 when a rebound landed on the stick of forward Shawn Pauly, and he snapped it in from the right circle. The Komets came into the night with the ECHL’s third-ranked penalty-killing unit (89.4 percent), while the Mavericks’ power play ranked seventh (19 percent).

Kansas City took a 2-1 lead at 19:23 when lax defense allowed forward Darren Nowick to get behind the defense and fire a shot from the right circle that slipped underneath goalie Michael Houser before the Mavericks’ Nate Widman swept the puck in.

On the ensuing faceoff, Fort Wayne’s Daniel Maggio attempted to fire up his teammates and the crowd by fighting Troy Donnay in a bout that lasted 45 action-packed seconds.

(Video highlights, including the fight, are above.)

Another attempt at fisticuffs by the Komets in the second period backfired; Taylor Crunk tried to fight Kayle Doetzel, who didn’t have a penalty minute in 11 games, and Crunk wound up going to the penalty box alone for unsportsmanlike conduct to set up Jared VanWormer’s power-play goal for a 3-1 lead.

Donnay got a major penalty and a game misconduct at 17:53 for spearing Zac Larraza in the groin, putting the Komets on a 5-minute power play, and that set them up for a Dennis Kravchenko goal 1:27 into the third period off a pass from Thompson.

But a roughing penalty on the Komets’ goalie, Houser, 13 seconds later shortened the length of the major power play.

Notes: Tulsa Oilers coach Rob Murray, a former Komets player, collapsed behind the bench during the second period in a game at Quad City and the game was postponed. He was taken to a local hospital but was “alert and communicating,” according to the Oilers’ twitter account. Murray began his professional career with the Komets, playing for them in 1987-88 and spent 107 games in the NHL. He won an ECHL championship as a coach with Alaska. This is his first season in Tulsa. ... The Komets are scheduled to play host to Tulsa on Sunday. ... The referee at the Coliseum was Don Jablonski. ... The Komets played without Mason Baptista and Justin Hodgman.