AP NEWS

Komets crushed in Toledo

November 26, 2016 GMT

The Komets have five more games this season with the Toledo Walleye, which is once again a division rival this season. But Fort Wayne has nowhere to go but up after losing 7-1 tonight in Toledo, Ohio.

Defenseman Matt Caito, a rookie out of Miami (Ohio), had the first hat trick of his professional career. The Central Division-leading Walleye (14-3-0) scored on 4 of 7 power plays and added a short-handed goal to win its sixth straight game. And the Komets squandered a 1-goal lead, which had come thanks to a Garrett Thompson tally 6:24 into the first period at the Huntington Center.

Forward Shawn Szydlowski, who had been on a 4-game goal-scoring streak and a 9-game point-scoring streak, was held without a point for the Komets (9-4-2). And he instigated a fight with Matthew Santos 12:29 into the third period in front of 7,445 fans.

Fort Wayne goaltender Eric Hartzell stopped 19 of 24 shots. His backup, Keegan Asmundson, played the whole the third period and stopped 13 of 15. Toledo’s Jake Paterson stopped 24 of 25.

The Komets have been hampered for 14 months by their inability to finish periods strong, and that was the case again as the Walleye scored three times in the span of 1:53 late in the first period, with Caito (power play), Alden Hirschfeld (power play) and A.J. Jenks finding the back of the net. Toledo had 19 of the 25 first-period shots.

Even though the Komets outshot the Walleye 10-5 in the second period, Toledo had both goals. Toledo went up 4-1 after forward Shane Berschbach skated down the right side and put a fake on defenseman Jason Binkley, who fell to the ice, before sending a pass to Caito for a goal from eight feet out at 11:31. Tyler Sikura netted a short-handed goal at 18:32 to give Toledo a four-goal lead.

Caito and Tyson Spink had power-play goals in the third period. Berschbach totaled four assists.

Notes: Spencer Martin, who played last season for the Komets, was called up to the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche from the American Hockey League’s San Antonio Rampage because of the injury to Semyon Varlamov. Martin, 21, is 8-5-0 with a 2.21 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage this season. It is his first stint in the NHL. “I’m excited to get my first NHL callup,” Martin said. “I’m going to do my best on the ice and try to learn as much as possible while I’m with the Avalanche.” … The Walleye had a moment of silence before the game for Bob Chase, the Komets’ longtime broadcaster who died Thursday at 90. Other league teams, including the Atlanta Gladiators, have also honored Chase. Atlanta’s broadcaster, Chris Treft, is a native of Huntington.