The Fort Wayne Komets rallied to earn a point Sunday but also left themselves with no second chances.
The Komets trailed the Flint Generals 4-1 heading into the third period before scoring three unanswered goals to force overtime and then a shootout before losing 5-4. The one point Fort Wayne received because of the overtime leaves the Komets seven points behind first-place Muskegon in the International Hockey League. The Lumberjacks have 95 points in 67 games, and the Komets 88 in 66.
Fort Wayne plays seven of its last 10 games at home, while Muskegon plays seven of its last nine games on the road. The only game between the teams is April 7 in Fort Wayne.
The Komets moved four points up on Port Huron for second place when the IceHawks lost at Bloomington.
Even if the Komets won their last 10 games, the Lumberjacks would have to go 6-3 for Fort Wayne to win first place. If the teams end up in a tie, the IHL tiebreakers are overall wins, the second is head-to-head wins and the third is fewest head-to-head regulation losses. The fourth is most goals, the fifth is head-to-head fewest goals against and the sixth is to flip a coin.
``We're looking to win first place,'' Komets coach Al Sims said after Sunday's game. ``If we have to go 10-0, that's what we have to do. We just have to put our minds to it and decide we're going to show up and play hard for 60 minutes every night. They have seven road games. They are going to stumble somehwere and hopefully we don't and pick up some points.''
The Komets will need a performance every night like they put together in the second and third periods on Sunday. Starting his third game in a row, Nick Boucher was touched up for three goals in the first period. Sims yanked Boucher for Tim Haun for the final 3:21 of the first period, and then send Boucher back in goal for the rest of the game.
``We just decided to play the lat two periods of the game after we didn't show up in the first and it cost us a point,'' Sims said. ``I just wanted to give Nick a break after the three goals in the first and then go back to him. We really controlled the game after that. We still came back and went through eveything and got a point out of it."
The Komets got goals from Matt Syroczynski, Guy Dupuis, Sean O'Connor and David Hukalo but could not score the game-winner despite out-shooting Flint 8-0 during the five-minute overtime period. Flint goaltender Sergei Zvyagin finished with 47 saves.
``We need some rest,'' Sims said. ``We've got a lot of guys with little injuries. Keith Rodgers has a thigh injury, and Brandon Warner has a shoulder injury. We'll be ready to go Thursday night.''