FORT WAYNE – The Komets hung with the defending champions of the ECHL, the Reading Royals, on Friday night at Memorial Coliseum.
But that wasn’t enough.
A 4-2 loss to the Royals, who got two goals from defenseman Aaron Gens, left the Komets dissatisfied.
We’re making the same mistakes over and over again, said forward Chris Auger, who scored one of the Fort Wayne goals.
We’ve got to start learning. There’s no doubt that we can play with the top teams in the league, but we keep shooting ourselves in the foot.
It was the second game this season in which the Komets (5-5-2) never held a lead. The loss snapped their season-best winning streak at three games.
It dropped Fort Wayne all-time to 0-3-0 against the Royals, who are 9-4-0 this season.
I keep saying it over and over again: Eventually, we’ve got to learn, Auger said. There aren’t any moral victories here. That’s two points that we let go.
So what are those mistakes the Komets keep making?
It’s just missed coverages in our own end, Auger said. We’re not playing the systems that we drew up on the board. We can’t have guys letting guys make cross-ice passes.
We all have roles that we’re supposed to be playing,and everyone has to play it, he said. Tonight, they got two goals from lost coverage right down the slot.
The Royals opened with goals from Ethan Cox at 4:41 into the game and from Yannick Tifu 47 seconds later.
Auger answered with a 40-foot slapshot just 19 seconds after that. But on the Royals’ second shot of the second period, Gens took a crossing pass and sent it into a wide-open net for a 3-0 lead at 11:24.
Mike Vasikvuo scored at 2:57 of the third period, after Bobby Hughes made a pass while falling to the ice, but Gens cemented the victory at 16:33.
That was a good test for us. I really liked our game in a lot of spots, but what it came down to was they were more opportunistic than us, Fort Wayne coach Gary Graham said.
They finished on their chances. We had a bunch of great scoring chances but didn’t get them in when we needed to.
But the guys fought hard, and I liked the compete factor, he said. It was a good challenge for us, and it’s going to make us stronger.
Notes: The Komets activated forward Brett Lyon, who was acquired last week from Bakersfield for cash, and Matt Firman was scratched to make room. Lyon played four shifts. It was the first time Auger had faced Gens since the latter blew out Auger’s knee in a Fort Wayne vs. Evansville game last year.