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Opinions differ on whether play in CHL is faster

One Central Hockey League game is in the books and it remains to be seen if the CHL has brought with it a faster pace than fans of the Komets saw in the IHL.

Seemingly no one within the Komets’ locker room agreed on the subject, after the Komets’ 4-0 loss to the Rapid City Rush, reigning champion of the CHL, on Saturday night.

“It was definitely quicker. No question,” goaltender Nick Boucher said. “You were looking at one of the top teams in the league, obviously, but there’s no question there was a quicker pace of play.”

Center Leo Thomas disagreed.

“Not really,” he said. “You didn’t really notice it.”

Left wing P.C. Drouin acknowledged that, to the 10,480 fans at Memorial Coliseum, the Rush might have looked faster than Komets. But that’s just because the Komets played lackadaisically, he said, uncharacteristic for the team that won the last three IHL championships.

“I don’t think (it was faster),” Drouin said.

“To be honest, I thought with how slow we felt, me personally and a lot of other guys, we were lacking jump and we still didn’t look that slower than them. I didn’t see much of a change (compared to the IHL). Look at how bad we played, and we still outshot them (36-31). … When we hit our stride, we’ll be fine.”

The Komets will look to get their first goal, and victory, of the season Friday at Arizona (1-1-0), in the first of back-to-back games on back-to-back nights at Tim Toyota Center in Prescott Valley, Ariz.

Whether or not the speed of the game was faster, the K’s interpretation of CHL rules will have to change. They were assessed seven minor penalties against the Rush.

“They’re bringing it back to a style of no clutching and grabbing, the NHL rules, and you saw the times where guys would go back to the habits we had from last (season),” Boucher said. “We used to be able to get away with that (in the IHL) and it’s not going to work this year.”

The Komets are spending this week in practice making sure they don’t have as bad a showing as they did against the Rush.

“Those guys won (the CHL title) for a good reason, because they’re a good team,” Thomas said. “But we’re a good team, and it was just the first game, with new systems, and we gave them too much ice to skate on out there.”