The Komets opened their home-and-home exhibition slate with a 3-2 victory over the Dayton Gems, in which Fort Wayne outshot the visitors 38-24 Thursday.
Good as the Komets might have looked, even more help is on the way.
The Komets reached an affiliation agreement with the Columbus Blue Jackets, which should provide them NHL-contracted players in the coming weeks.
Weve always entertained the thought of doing this, Komets general manager David Franke said. They called us about a month ago and expressed some interest. Weve looked at Columbus ever since they came into the NHL because they are less than three hours away and because weve had ties with some people within their organization, such as (former team president/general manager) Doug MacLean, who helped build the Blue Jackets from their inception.
(Affiliating) is something a lot of teams in the CHL and ECHL are doing. It helps in recruiting, since we can help get our players looked at by (the Blue Jackets). They will have people come scout our games from time to time. This is the way the AA level is going.
The Komets havent had an affiliation with an NHL team since they were tied to the Florida Panthers in 1998-99, Fort Waynes last season in the AAA-level IHL.
After moving to the AA tier, the Komets twice had informal working agreements with higher-level teams – in 1999-2000 with Kalamazoo and in 2008-09 with Norfolk.
The Komets are expecting a forward and a defenseman to be assigned from the Blue Jackets soon.
We are very pleased to add the Fort Wayne Komets as an affiliate for this season, Blue Jackets assistant general manager Chris MacFarland said. Player development is critical for an organization to achieve long-term success, and Fort Wayne will provide a tremendous opportunity for some of our young players to gain valuable experience.
The Komets have one more preseason game – Saturday at Dayton – and they open the regular season Oct. 16 against the visiting Rapid City Rush.
On Thursday, Fort Wayne opened the scoring 12:47 into the first period, when center Leo Thomas set up Sean OConnor for a goal. Less than a minute later, rookie Tyler Fletcher beat goaltender Guillaume Piche with a wrist shot from the left circle.
It was the first game for Dayton coach Brian Gratz, a native of Fort Wayne and former Komets goaltender, and his first goal came from forward Mike Vaskivuo at 11:35 of the second period.
Rookie Joe Bluhm gave Fort Wayne a 3-1 lead early in the third period. Daytons Kyle Bochek answered at 16:59.
Fort Wayne starting goalieNick Boucher stopped all 10 shots he faced. Kevin Reiter stopped 12 of 14.
The Komets played without defensemen Frankie DeAngelis, Danko Mironovic and Keith Rodger, who has yet to practice because of a deep bone bruise in his back. Rodger should return Monday.