The Komets' 2-1 loss to the CHL-worst Bloomington Blaze was marked by myriad turnovers, a lack of energy and the inability to score more than once despite 42 shots at the Bloomington net tonight.
For the Komets, who were playing their first game since taking over first place in the CHL (a position they may not keep beyond tonight), it was a lackadaisical performance in front of 7,140 fans who braved the snowy conditions to get to Memorial Coliseum.
"We did everything yesterday in practice to prepare them for this team," Komets coach Al Sims said. "We warned them before this game what they were getting into. We just turned it on too late."
The Komets' only goal came from Artem Podshendyalov, who tied it at 1 in the second period. But in the third, Kyle Laughlin took a pass from behind the net from Travis Granbois and made it 2-1.
"We didn't come out hard," defenseman Frankie DeAngelis said. "We've just got to be better, especially against a team like this coming to our home rink."
There wasn't much hitting in the game -- it was a true snoozer -- but there were some dirty plays. The two biggest came from Bloomington Ryan Palmer, who drove Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock head-first into the boards in the third period, and elbowed Brett Smith while he was on his knees in the third period.
Both plays drew minor penalties from referee Brent Coulombe.
It may have been the first game since the all-star break, which included three days off for the players, but it wasn't what Sims was expecting.
The Komets were 0 for 7 on power plays.
"We practiced hard and had a couple days practice," DeAngelis said. "We just didn't come prepared. It's always a close game with these guys, how they trap and just bounce on opportunities that are basically our mistakes and they capitalize on them."
Fort Wayne is 22-10-1 and could be eclipsed by Wichita, which is one point back but playing a late game against Rapid City. Bloomington is 12-20-2.