ELMIRA, N.Y. – A two-goal effort by Danny Hobbs wasn’t enough to power the Elmira Jackals past the Fort Wayne Komets on Friday night at First Arena. The Jackals fell 4-3 in the first game of the second half of their 2013-14 schedule and their record slipped to 12-21-4.
One week ago the Jackals jumped on the Komets with the game’s first goal two minutes into the contest. This time around Fort Wayne got the bead on the Jackals, although not as quickly, and snagged the 1-0 lead. Kaleigh Schrock took a pass in the slot and made a shift to the backhand to work the puck past Elmira goalie Brad Phillips at 8:18. Hobbs potted his first of the night just 1:25 later with Mike Vaskivuo and Dane Walters netting the assists. Vaskivuo stretched his point streak to four games (3 goals, 4 assists) and picked up his ninth point in seven games with Elmira. The Komets responded when Scott Flemming tipped in a centering pass at 17:38 for his 11th of the year and a 2-1 Fort Wayne lead heading into the second. Phillips was busy in the first and stopped 16 of the 18 shots he faced to keep the Jackals within striking distance.The second period opened with a fortunate bounce for the Jackals. A strong cycling sequence set Hobbs up with the puck behind the Fort Wayne net. As Vaskivuo closed in front Hobbs sent a pass toward the slot that bounced off of Komets goalie Ben Meisner and in to tie the game 94 seconds into the stanza. The goal was Hobbs’ 11th of the season and sixth in four games against Fort Wayne. Elmira furiously poured shots Meisner’s way, 19 in total in the period, but the game headed into the third deadlocked at two.Just as they did in the second the Jackals struck quickly in the third and, this time, snagged their first lead of the night. Riley Boychuk creatively criss-crossed with Jakub Culek off the rush and created open space in front of Meisner. Culek tipped Boychuk’s pass just under the crossbar for his seventh goal of the year at 1:49 of the third. Fort Wayne was able to answer quickly this time, however, and didn’t look back after the tying score. Jordon Southorn beat Phillips with a slap shot from the left wing at 3:09 and Matt Carter followed with a snap shot off of a faceoff at 9:32 to lift the Komets back in front. Elmira battled for the tying goal with Phillips pulled for the extra attacker inside of the final minute but couldn’t produce it.Phillips took the loss in his Jackals debut with 29 saves. Elmira ended the night 0-for-3 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
The two teams meet again with games on Saturday and Sunday.