The Komets had an opportunity to make a statement about their future Friday.
Now it just looks as if they’ll have a long weekend.
They came into the night having won consecutive games for only the second time this season and having gone two games above .500 for the first time this year.
But instead of keeping the momentum going, the Komets were shellacked 5-1 by defending-champion Reading at Memorial Coliseum.
Fort Wayne (10-9-4) and Reading (11-9-1) meet again tonight in the Coliseum.
I thought we came out pretty strong in the first period, said Komets forward Mike Vaskivuo, who finished the scoring 8:39 into the third period.
We really took it to them and had some chances. I thought we had a lot of chances tonight, but we just couldn’t bury them, and I don’t know what that was about. They capitalized on a lot of their chances, really, and we have to tighten it up and come back hard tomorrow.
The Royals began the scoring 9 seconds into their second power play, with forward Louie Caporusso, stationed to the left of the Fort Wayne net, sending a 9-foot shot past goaltender Cody Reichard at 16:34 of the first period. It was only the seventh time in 23 games this season the Komets have failed to score first, and it snapped a string of 11 straight successful penalty kills for Fort Wayne.
Reichard was called up to the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League after the game, general manager David Franke confirmed.
Defenseman Michal Cajkovsky made it 2-0 at 5:38 of the second period with a blistering slap shot from the left circle, and defenseman Matt Campanale scored just less than three minutes later with a wrist shot from between the circles.
Seconds after he got out of the penalty box, Reading forward Domenic Monardo scored on a breakaway for a 4-0 lead at 11:09 of the second period.
For the most part there in the second period, and the reason I didn’t call a timeout, is I wanted to see these guys work through some adversity. It’s something we need to learn, to start getting through those times, Komets coach Gary Graham said. As a coach, you hope it doesn’t happen a lot, but you want them to learn and grow through these times when it gets tough. We need guys stepping up and doing it on the ice with their actions. That’s what we need.
Reading forward Dustin Gazley pushed the lead to 5-0 by finishing a tic-tac-toe passing play at 3:07 in third.
Reichard stopped 25 of 30 shots. Riley Gill stopped 26 of 27 shots for Reading.
We had a bunch of great scoring chances and we didn’t bury them, Graham said. You’ve got to give (the Royals) credit because they made the most out of their scoring chances. They had a lot better scoring chances than us, but early on if we could have popped one it, we’re a team that thrives on scoring early and then going from there.