Komets goaltender Cole Kehler was 26.5 seconds from his third shutout of the season when Yushiroh Hirano backhanded a rebound past him tonight.
That was much too little, way too late for the Wheeling Nailers.
Kehler totaled 38 saves, including a sliding stop of Renars Krastenbergs from point-blank range, and the Komets defeated the Nailers 6-1 in front of 3,972 fans at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling, West Virginia.
Anthony Petrruzelli scored twice. Drake Rymsha had a goal and four points for the Komets (18-13-5).
Wheeling (16-16-4) got 28 saves from Alex D’Orio.
Petruzzelli, who has four goals in the last two games, opened the scoring during a power play 2:50 into the first period with a shot from 20 feet out.
Fort Wayne’s Brady Shaw made it 2-0 from close range, after intercepting Craig Skudalski’s pass from behind his own net. Shaw has six goals and 13 points in the last five games.
Another Wheeling turnover at the goalpost, this by Fort Wayne-native Blake Siebenaler, led to a scrum for the puck that was finished by Jermaine Loewen chipping it in for a 3-0 lead at 16:00.
Petruzzelli’s goal from the slot at 18:59 of the second period made it 4-0. Olivier Galipeau and Rymsha followed with goals.
Fort Wayne scored on 2 of 4 power plays. Wheeling was 1 for 4.
The Komets play host to the Idaho Steelheads at 5 p.m. Sunday. The Komets lost 3-2 Friday to the Steelheads, who rested in Fort Wayne on Saturday.
Notes: The referee was Logan Gruhl, son of former Komets star Scott Gruhl. … The ECHL announced the 2021 All-Star Classic will be in Jacksonville, Florida. This year’s will be at Wichita, Kansas, on Jan. 22. … The Komets played without captain A.J. Jenks (ill), Matthew Boudens (ill), all-star Shawn St-Amant (upper body), Brad Morrison, Brycen Martin, Taylor Ross and goalie Patrick Munson. … Komets legends Len Thornson and Eddie Long will be signing autographs today at the Coliseum as part of Harvester Homecoming Night. They are among the many Komets who worked at International Harvester.