Cole Kehler gave up four goals on the first 11 shots he faced. He and his fellow Komets buckled down defensively thereafter, but they still lost 4-2 to the Idaho Steelheads on Friday night in front of an announced crowd of 4,529 at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho.
Kehler finished with 20 saves, as Fort Wayne lost for only the second time in its last nine games.
Tomas Sholl stopped 40 shots for the Steelheads, who had lost 4-2 to the Komets in Boise on Wednesday, when Brett McKenzie scored twice for Fort Wayne.
The teams meet again at 9 p.m. today.
The Komets (15-8-2) didn’t have a backup goalie on hand – only emergency backup Mike Wallingford – so Kehler had to battle through the early four-goal deficit.
The Steelheads’ Tye Felhaber had the first period’s lone goal. Idaho scored three times in the first 3:29 of the second period, taking advantage of defensive lapses, as Will Merchant scored once and A.J. White twice.
Kehler got back on track by stopping a Spencer Naas breakaway 8 minutes into the second period. And Fort Wayne’s Anthony Petruzzelli netted a 30-foot shot at 11:47 after a no-look Alan Lyszczarczyk pass.
Fort Wayne’s Taylor Ross cut the deficit to two goals at 4-2 with a power-play goal 1:03 into the third period.
Sholl thwarted Matthew Boudens at the end of a 2-on-1 rush at 14:07 to preserve the two-goal lead for Idaho (13-9-5).
Notes: The ECHL announced that four members of the U.S. Women’s National Team will take part in the All-Star Classic, which will be a four-team 3-on-3 tournament Jan. 22 in Wichita, Kansas. Taking part will be three members of the 2018 Olympic Gold Medal squad – Dani Cameranesi, Kali Flanagan and Gigi Marvin – along with three-time World Champion Annie Pankowski. Each player will be assigned to one of the four competing teams.