FORT WAYNE, IN (WFIE)
On the back end of a home- and home weekend series, the Evansville IceMen fell to the Fort Wayne Komets by a final score of 5-1 at the Memorial Coliseum. Despite the loss, the IceMen (9-14-2-2, 22 points) remain tied for fifth in the North Division just two points out of a playoff spot.
Two fights in the first 15 seconds of the game kicked off the fifth meeting between the two rivals in the last 15 days. The bad blood between the two teams boiled over immediately as Kevin Harvey dropped the gloves and pummeled Shawn Szydlowski off the opening face-off.
Just 13 seconds later, Guillaume Lepine threw hands with Cody Sol in a rematch of a fight from the night before. The two heavyweights dragged each other to the ice to end the fighting temporarily.
Peter Sakaris hammered Eric Faille in a fight during the final minute of the first period. Three fights occurred in the first period, but neither team could get a goal as they went into the first intermission scoreless.
Fort Wayne struck early in the second period. Just as a 5-on-3 power play became a 5-on-4 for the Komets, Shawn Szydlowski scored to put the Komets up 1-0.
On another power play, Fort Wayne's Mike Embach put in a shot from the slot on a centering feed from Matthew Pistilli to give the Komets a 2-0 lead after two.
In the third, Fort Wayne added to their lead. Embach lit the lamp on a short-handed breakaway to make it a 3-0 Komets advantage.
Evansville answered on the same power play. Patrick Kennedy carried the puck into the Fort Wayne zone and fired a shot. Pat Nagle made the initial save, but Peter Sakaris picked up the rebound and rifled in a shot from the high slot to put the IceMen on the board. Sakaris's fifth of the year trimmed the Komets lead to two.
With Matt Lowry down on the ice following a blocked shot, Embach completed the hat trick with a slap shot that put the Komets back up by three. Fort Wayne added one more before the game ended to wrap up a 5-1 win.
Nagle picked up the win for Fort Wayne by stopping 21 of the 22 IceMen shots he faced. Chris Driedger suffered the loss for Evansville making 25 saves in the game.
Evansville will pay Cincinnati a visit on Monday night, before returning home on New Years Eve to host the Quad City Mallards.