The Journal Gazette
Saturday, January 11, 2020 1:00 am

Idaho 3, Komets 2

Komets offense sputters in loss

Outshot 34-19; Petruzzelli only player to tally a goal

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Patrick Munson did his part, stopping 31 shots. Anthony Petruzzelli did his, too, scoring twice.

But not enough offensive opportunities were generated by the Komets in a 3-2 loss to the Idaho Steelheads on Friday night in front of 7,667 fans at Memorial Coliseum.

“Obviously, (offense) comes from us shooting the puck and that starts with us getting the puck in deep,” said Petruzzelli, whose Komets were outshot 34-19. “Idaho did a great job of holding the blue line tonight. We were talking about trying to get pucks in deep and it's just something we didn't execute and that's what hurt us.”

Connor Bleackley scored twice as the Steelheads (21-12-5) won for the ninth time in their last 12 games and improved to 3-1-0 against the Komets.

The Komets play 7 p.m. today at Wheeling, West Virginia, while the Steelheads get to rest in Fort Wayne. The Komets and Steelheads play again at the Coliseum at 5 p.m. Sunday.

“We've been working out a few kinks here,” said Petruzzelli, whose Komets (17-13-5) are 2-6-3 in their last 11 games. “But I think we're on track. It's about getting those little details. Once we dial those in, I think we'll be OK.”

It was the Steelheads' first game at the Coliseum, even though both teams have been in the ECHL since 2012-13, and they gave up only one shot on goal, to Brett McKenzie, until late in in the first, though Fort Wayne was short-handed for 6 minutes of that.

But things turned in Fort Wayne's favor just as the fans were getting antsy.

Stephen Baylis' pass from behind the Idaho net set up Petruzzelli, who was camped just outside the crease, for a one-timer and a 1-0 lead on Fort Wayne's second shot at 15:10.

Munson, who played a third straight game after being third on the depth chart, kept the Komets up 1-0 with a slew of saves. That included two stops on Matt Ustaski, who was stationed in front of the net.

The Steelheads tied it at 16:49 of the second period, when Bleackley scored off a rebound with Fort Wayne's McKenzie in the penalty box for interference. Bleackley made it 2-1 Idaho by scoring off a redirection 2:40 into the third period, just seconds after he was thwarted by Munson at the end of a 2-on-1 rush.

Petruzzelli answered by scoring off a rebound at 5:11.

It didn't take long for Idaho to regain its lead. Jermaine Loewen took a tripping penalty at 5:21 and Jeff King, a former Komets player, scored on a 50-foot slapshot during the ensuing power play at 5:37.

Idaho scored on 2 of 7 power plays. Fort Wayne was 1 for 5.

“(The offense) wasn't there,” Komets coach Ben Boudreau said. “It really wasn't there. It was frustrating. ... It's one of those ones where (the Komets players) were so hot last weekend in winning both games that they got a little frustrated and started trying to do it themselves instead of using teammates. That resulted in a lot of offensive-zone blue-line turnovers. It was a frustrating game.

“We were trying hard, we just weren't trying smart. Our mistakes kept mounting and mounting and mounting.”

Notes: Defenseman Max Gottlieb returned to the Komets from Ontario of the American Hockey League. Gottlieb has three goals and 19 points in 27 games for Fort Wayne, including an assist Friday. With Ontario, he was scoreless in one game.

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