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Komets Beat Gulls in Shootout


SAN DIEGO — The Gulls, who seem to have no trouble scoring goals, shot blanks Tuesday in another shootout.

The Fort Wayne Komets got shootout goals from Chris McRae and Bruce Boudreau to beat the Gulls, 6-5, in front of 3,618 at the San Diego Sports Arena.

The Gulls (25-15-4, 54 points), who lost their third consecutive shootout, dropped to third place in the International Hockey League's West Division, one point behind Peoria.

The Gulls, who lead the IHL in goals per game at 4.3, were only 1 for 5 in shootout attempts against goalie Sean Gauthier (5-2-1) and Fort Wayne, which leads the East Division (32-12-3, 67 points).

McRae and Boudreau used flip shots to beat Gulls goalie Bruce Hoffort (6-4-1), who was playing his first game since Jan. 10, when he suffered a concussion against Indianapolis. Gauthier clinched the victory by deflecting a shot by Gull Len Hachborn. Ray Whitney scored on the first attempt before Robbie Nichols, Larry Floyd and Soren True came up empty. The Gulls did not use IHL goals leader Dmitri Kvartalnov.

The loss ended the Gulls' winning streak at five games and overshadowed Steve Martinson's three goals in a wild second period.

Seven goals were scored in the second period Tuesday, but the Gulls, who trailed, 1-0 , after the first 20 minutes, managed only to tie it, 4-4, after two periods.

Martinson, who entered the game with only six goals but a team-high 172 penalty minutes, scored all three of his goals in the second period, becoming the first Gull to accomplish that feat since Floyd did it the first game of 1990-91.

But the Gulls, who did a decent job clearing the puck in their zone, were outplayed in the neutral zone by the Komets, who were both fast and physical.

Martinson opened the scoring 2:42 into the second period, taking a pass from Whitney to tie the game, 1-1. But 1:56 Fort Wayne's Peter Hankinson answered scoring off rebound from Hoffort.

Martinson tied it again, 2-2, stuffing in the rebound of Alan Leggett's shot from the blue line at 6:38. But nine seconds later, with the crowd still hooting and James Brown belting out "I Feel Good" on the public address system, Komet Ian Boyce darted away with the faceoff and scored to make 3-2 Fort Wayne.

Less than a minute later, Hachborn hit the far post with a backhand shot. On came the red light, the scoreboard flashed 3-3 and James Brown was singing "I Feel Good" again. But referee Scott Zelkin nullified the goal, saying the puck never crossed the line.

The Gulls eventually tied it, 3-3, when Nichols appeared headed behind the net, stopped and shot. This time James Brown made it through a few bars.

Then the Gulls took the lead, 4-3, when Whitney created a 2-on-1 break, put the puck between Boudreau's skates and passed to an open Martinson in front of the crease. But the Komets quickly tied it, 4-4, racing out to four 2-on-1 breaks, Scott Gruhl scoring on the fourth.

It stayed even through the third period, as Fort Wayne scored first, again getting beat on a faceoff after defenseman Jean-Marc Richard (one goal, three assists) scored from the point on the power play at 9:01. But Floyd sent the game into overtime when he scored from the point on the power play.

The only other time these two played (Nov. 28) the Gulls allowed four unanswered goals in the third period in an 8-4 loss. Hoffort was the goalie. The defeat dropped the Gulls, who were then battling Salt Lake for third, to 13-11-0.

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