SPT Walleye11p Ft. Wayne Komets player Brandon Marino (13) is knocked into the boards by a Toledo Walleye player during the second period of their hockey game at the Huntington Center, Friday, January 10, 2014. The Blade/Andy Morrison 13
The Walleye came out of the gate strong and finished with a flurry but gave up three goals in between to suffer a 3-2 setback on Friday night to Fort Wayne.
“I can't really recall too many games that we lost that I was happy with our effort,” Walleye coach Nick Vitucci said.
“There were a lot of positives.”
The Walleye have lost two in a row and three of their last four games.
Toledo's David Gilbert tallied the first goal when he tipped in a shot from the point by Max Nicastro.
PHOTO GALLERY: Click here to view photos from the game.
Gilbert's eighth of the season came 5:43 into the contest.
Vitucci said Fort Wayne's first two goals were the result of fluky bounces.
Fort Wayne tied it when a puck deflected off of Walleye defenseman Joe Sova's glove.
The Komets went ahead when the puck got tangled up in Gilbert's skates at the top of the crease and Fort Wayne's Christian Ouellet knocked it in.
Fort Wayne added to its lead on a shot Toledo goalie Mac Carruth admitted he should have stopped.
The rookie netminder was on his knees too long as the Komets had sustained pressure and Jace Coyle wristed a shot over Carruth’s shoulder with 16:25 left in the game.
“Two of them right there were [fluky], but the third one was soft on my part,” said Carruth, who finished with 32 saves. “I was battling a cramp in my hip there and I couldn't stand up. But that's life and it wasn't a great goal.”
Toledo (10-18-3) pulled back within one on Richard Nedomlel's goal.
The Walleye had a bevy of chances on a late power play but could not tie it.
Vitucci pulled Carruth with 1:30 left but Toledo still could not even the game.
“Everyone on the bench really thought we were going to score there,” Carruth said.
Gilbert now has three goals and two assists in four games versus Fort Wayne.
“We had a huge goal to make it a one-goal game and the guys played hard to the end,” Gilbert said.
Toledo peppered the Komets' with 14 shots in the first period. But Fort Wayne took over at the game's midpoint and into the third — a span that included the two strange goals.
“Bounces like that happen,” Gilbert said. “That's the game. It has happened a lot this year. But we know we have a good team and we won't give up.”
The Komets outshot Toledo 15-9 in a second period that Fort Wayne mostly controlled. Each team had eight shots in the third. The Komets finished with a 35-31 edge.
“It was an energetic game and we created a a lot of opportunities,” Vitucci said. “We battled right to the end. We can hold our heads high.”
Toledo plays at Wheeling today before returning home Sunday for a rematch against the Nailers.
FISH TALES: The organization expects to welcome its one millionth fan on Sunday. The total attendance in four-plus seasons at the Huntington Center stood at 991,638 heading into Friday's game. … The North Division foes meet nine times this season, but only three times in Toledo. The Walleye are 1-3-1 against the Komets. … Toledo's Emerson Clark battled Kaleigh Schrock in a second-period fight. Clark landed some big blows and Schrock had to be stitched up in two different places.