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Komets

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Komets
vs. Dayton
When: 8 p.m. today
at Dayton
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
vs. Quad City
When: 5 p.m. Sunday
Radio: 1190 AM (all games)
Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
Komets players, from left, Justin Chwedoruk, Kaleigh Schrock and David Hukalo celebrate a goal Wednesday against Muskegon.

K’s shot at top spot needs strong finish

The Komets took care of business Wednesday night, defeating the first-place Muskegon Lumberjacks 3-0.

Now comes the easy part.

Or, is it the hard part?

The Komets’ six remaining games are against the IHL’s three worst teams, Dayton, Quad City and Flint. Four of the six games will be in the friendly surroundings of Memorial Coliseum.

Despite the favorable schedule, the Komets’ big challenge may be not playing down to the competition.

“We’ve managed to play pretty well, especially in the last 30 or 40 games, against the lower teams in the league,” said Fort Wayne goaltender Nick Boucher, who had the 27-save shutout Wednesday, playing his eighth straight game while Tim Haun remained out with a concussion.

“These are teams that aren’t going to score a whole lot of goals. If we can clog it up and simplify our game, really eliminate our turnovers, it will bode pretty well for us, I think.”

Fort Wayne (45-21-4) begins a home-and-home series with last-place Dayton (25-43-4) tonight at the Coliseum.

The Komets, who are chasing a fourth straight regular-season championship and a third straight Turner Cup playoff title, trail Muskegon by six points.

Two of Muskegon’s players received awards Thursday.

Robin Bouchard, a former Komets player who leads the IHL with 58 goals, was selected as league MVP. Teammate Matt Krug, who has 13 goals and 44 points, won defenseman of the year.

Both awards were voted on by coaches, general managers and reporters.

But the Lumberjacks’ remaining five-game schedule includes four road games. They take on Dayton once, Bloomington once and Flint three times.

Flint is seven points back of Bloomington for the fourth and final playoff spot.

“Being at home, No. 1, should help us,” Komets coach Al Sims said. “Dayton is struggling right now a little bit, and we have to take advantage in the next two games against them. We need to make sure we win against a struggling team.”

Boucher, who should be backed up by the recovering Haun this weekend, agreed that a home-heavy schedule will be beneficial. Fort Wayne is 25-7-2 at the Coliseum.

“It takes a toll on you,” Boucher said of all the travel this season.

The Komets must remain cognizant of third-place Port Huron, as the Icehawks are only two points back. But the Icehawks have played two more games than the Komets.

jcohn@jg.net

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