FLINT, Mich. -- Plain and simple, the Komets didn't come to play tonight. The Flint Generals did. The result: a lopsided 5-1 victory in favor of the Generals, who pulled to within seven points of the league-leading Komets.
Fort Wayne coach Al Sims, as you can hear if you listen to the audio at the end of this post, said he continually warned his team not to take the Generals lightly. The message apparently didn't sink in.
The Komets were out-hustled and out-mustled at the beginning of the game and were unable to recover. Though they improved after the first 10 minutes or so, wow, they gave up a ton of odd-man rushes and breakaways. The best player on the ice may have been Fort Wayne goalie Nick Boucher, who had missed the previous 14 games with a groin injury.
After he came in, the first shot he faced was a breakaway. The second was a penalty shot. He stopped them both, but then gave up a goal to Jarred Dumba. Boucher went on to stop 28 of 31 shots, after starter Kevin Reiter stopped 1 of 3.
The penalty shot still had people scratching their heads in the Fort Wayne locker room, especially because referee Bob Landon supposedly told the Komets it was because Sergei Durdin pulled Michel Beausoliel down at the blue line. Maybe so, but Beausoliel still got up, got almost in the clear again and got a clean shot on goal. How can that be cause for a penalty shot? Anyway, that part didn't matter in the end.
This game should serve as a reminder to the Komets, the Generals have plenty of time to overtake them in the standings. They can't have hiccups like tonight if they want to win a championship.
I wonder if not having David Hukalo and Mathieu Curadeau in the lineup rattled the Komets' confidence defensively? I also wonder if Reiter is a little less comfortable knowing he's got competition for playing time again. And did all the time off affect Brent Henley's right hook? I doubt all counts, but maybe we should watch these things Saturday at Muskegon, Mich.
To hear Sims' audio: Download sims_after_51_loss.WMA
To hear Boucher audio: Download boucher_postgame_interview.WMA
- Former Komets goalie Kevin St. Pierre suffered a season-ending wrist injury with Tulsa of the Central Hockey League.
- There were competing blogs at tonight's Komets game. Here's what The Flint Journal's Brendan Savage had to say.
-- By Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette