When the Komets’ top line of Justin Hodgman, Colin Chaulk and Matt Syroczynski gets going, it can be a dazzling thing to watch. In the Komets’ seven-game semifinals series victory over the Port Huron Icehawks, they totaled 10 goals and 23 points, and that was with Hodgman missing two games because of a suspension for slashing Nick Lindberg.
But Hodgman, Chaulk and Syroczynski aren’t satisfied with the way they’ve played so far, and they’re hoping to rectify it in the Turner Cup Finals against the Flint Generals.
When our line plays together, we’re dangerous, Chaulk said. When we start to play as individuals, it gets difficult out there. But when we play as a unit, we’ve got size, we’ve got speed, we can shoot and pass, and we can play with anyone in the league. Those are real keys, really.
When Hodgman rejoined the Komets late in the season for a third straight year, coach Al Sims thought it was natural to put these three players together.
Chaulk, 33, is the Komets’ leader who thrives on setting up others for scoring chances. Hodgman, 21, is a speedy playmaker who doesn’t mind going into the corners to get the puck. Syroczynski, 26, the Komets’ largest forward at 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, hunkers down in front of the net and wreaks havoc.
They all have great vision on the ice, said Sims, whose Komets recovered from a 3-1 deficit against the Icehawks. You’ve got a guy who stands in front of the net like Syro and cleans up the garbage. Chaulker sets people up. Hodgy does a little of both. They’ve got all the ingredients you need for a great offensive line.
When it comes to skill, the Komets’ threesome could be unmatched in the IHL.
Hodgman spent half this season with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League, one step below the NHL, and Syroczynski skated 30 games with Norfolk of the AHL this season.
Although Chaulk has only played 19 career games at that level, he’s been selected as the Komets’ MVP four times, including this season, and has guided them to three playoff championships. He was selected as the IHL’s outstanding defensive forward this season, and he helps cover things when his linemates get aggressive at the offensive end.
As the elder statesman, Chaulk guides Hodgman and Syroczynski, regardless of their greater statures in the eyes of scouts.
I’ve always been a guy who, if there’s something to say, I’ll say it, Chaulk said. Right or wrong, whatever you think your heart says, go and say it. If it upsets a guy, sorry.
Hodgman and Chaulk have demonstrated their chemistry the last two playoff runs, both resulting in Cup victories, and they had 20 goals and 45 points in 24 postseason games between them. Hodgman was chosen as the 2008 playoff MVP after he netted the triple-overtime Game 7 Cup-winning goal against Port Huron.
Syroczynski won a championship with Cincinnati of the ECHL in 2008.
Hodgy’s got speed. Chaulk’s got vision. I just try to go in between and do something, Syroczynski said. We just have to pick it up for the next series.
Hodgman agreed there’s no reason his line should be contained.
All three of us have different attributes that work well together, he said. We’re all smart hockey players.