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Breaking down 1st night at rink

The Komets won their first exhibition game 3-2 over the visiting Dayton Gems on Thursday night.

"I thought it was good to get a win in the first game for everybody," said Komets coach Al Sims, who got goals from Sean O'Connor, Tyler Fletcher and Joe Bluhm.

Nick Boucher stopped all 10 shots he faced. Kevin Reiter turned away 12 of 14.

The Komets found they are going to have to learn some of the quirks of the Central Hockey League rules.

"We've got to get used to their instigator penalties," Sims said. "They carry (a two-minute minor, five-minute major and 10-minute misconduct), so we lost Craig Cescon for 17 minutes. There are a lot of new rules that we're still getting used to."

One thing the Komets got caught on was they aren't allowed to have all their players on the ice warming up between periods. Only the starting five can do so. But the referee (Boone Bruggman) let them off with a warning.

Another thing is the teams can't leave the ice for the locker room until given permission by the officials, even though they are right behind the benches at Memorial Coliseum.

One thing the referee messed up, though, was that when the goalies were changed, because it was an exhibition game, they should have been allowed a full warm-up.

I asked Sims who really stood out.

"I thought Fletcher showed physicality and speed," Sims said. "He scored a nice goal and has got a nice shot. Bluhm and (Brant) Marple, I thought, played well killing penalties and saw some power-play time. Matt Ward did a nice job with (Lincoln Kaleigh) Schrock and P.C. Drouin. I thought David Cianfrini and Brad Pawlowski did OK on the back end."

Sims expressed excitement over the new affiliation with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

"If I'm anybody who's 25 or under, I'd be excited about it. There will be Columbus scouts in the building watching the Columbus players who are (assigned) here, and they will end up watching O'Connor and Schrock. These guys are free agents and any of them can be called up. So I would be excited to be able to show my (stuff) to an NHL team. This hasn't happened in Fort Wayne since (1999).

The flip side, though, is that a couple players who would have had a spot on this team will likely lose it when Columbus assigns players to Fort Wayne, probably next week.

One Fort Wayne player told me he was fearing Dayton would be terrible but actually looked pretty good. I think they're a few players short, but I also feel the Komets are at least one potent scorer short, too.

I don't have an solid attendance number, but 4,812 tickets were out.

Justin A. Cohn, pro sports coordinator for The Journal Gazette, has been covering the Fort Wayne Komets since 1997. His reporting includes game stories from home and away, features about the players and personalities associated with the Komets, plus coverage of issues affecting hockey at all levels. A native of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Cohn graduated from Emory University in Atlanta. He can be reached at 260-461-8429 or by email at jcohn@jg.net.

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