Patrick Munson continued to stake his claim to the Komets’ goaltending job, just over a week after he was No. 3 on the depth chart.
But he didn’t get enough help Friday night.
The Komets struggled to manufacture offense – although Anthony Petruzzelli scored twice – and they lost 3-2 to the Idaho Steelheads.
Connor Bleackley had two goals for the Steelheads, who outshot the Komets 34-19 and have won nine of their last 12 games.
A crowd of 7,667 was on hand at Memorial Coliseum, where the Steelheads (21-12-5) played for the first time even though both teams have been in the ECHL since 2012-13.
The Komets made their first trip to Boise, Idaho, on Dec. 11-14 and lost 2 of 3 games.
The Komets (17-13-5), who are 2-6-3 in their last 11 games, spent the first 15:09 with only one shot on goal, courtesy Brett McKenzie, and they were short-handed for 6:00 of that. The Steelheads had myriad chances to score, including a Marco Roy shot that caromed off the post at 9:30.
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, 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, at 10:42.
The Steelheads tied it at 16:49, 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.
The Komets play 7 p.m. Saturday 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.
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. … The ECHL chose Andrew Bruggeman, who called the Komets’ game, and Sean MacFarlane to referee the All-Star Classic. Chuck Schamel and Christopher Williams will be the linesmen Jan. 22 at Wichita, Kansas. Shawn St-Amant, who is currently injured, was selected as the Komets’ all-star. … Also out of the Fort Wayne lineup Friday were captain A.J. Jenks (illness), Brycen Martin, Brad Morrison, Taylor Ross, Will Petschenig and goalie Cole Kehler. … The Wichita Thunder signed Shaquille Merasty, who was waived by the Komets this week.