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Komets

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Komets goaltending shines; scoring needs polish

The Komets are off to a 1-1-1 start in their first Central Hockey League season.

Coach Al Sims is generally pleased with that, except as it pertains to his offense. The Komets have yet to net an even-strength goal.

“I’m obviously happy with our goaltending,” said Sims, whose team went 1-0-1 in a pair of games at Prescott Valley, Ariz., last weekend.

“Both guys (Nick Boucher and Kevin Reiter) played unbelievable in 2-1 games, so our goaltending is really strong. Our defense is getting back to where it was last year, too.

“We’ve just got to get some guys on track scoring goals. We haven’t scored a goal yet five-on-five. That’s a concern, but at least our power play is getting us something.”

The Komets have scored on three of 21 power plays and rank 12th among the 18 CHL teams with an efficiency of 14.3 percent. Fort Wayne averages 32 shots a game, seventh most in the CHL.

“We created some great opportunities. It’s not like we haven’t had chances,” Sims said. “But that (Arizona goalie Doug) Groenestege, he made some saves that were unbelievable. Our goalies matched him save for save, but our guys really got robbed by him.”

Sims finds it hard to believe Mathieu Curadeau, P.C. Drouin, Sean O’Connor, Leo Thomas and Brandon Naurato will remain scoreless for long.

“These guys are 30-goal guys who haven’t got one yet. We’re hoping they get one, get some confidence and start filling the net,” said Sims, whose team plays at Quad City on Friday night.

The Komets are affiliated with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, who have had a rash of injuries, and that has left American Hockey League affiliate Springfield short-handed, too. So there may not be help on the way anytime soon. The Komets aren’t concerned, though.

“Three games in, we’re starting to jell together and we’re coming together in practice. We’re not too worried about (the offense); we know that’s going to come,” defenseman Frankie DeAngelis said.

“We’re not going to hold our sticks tighter or anything. We’ve got a lot of offensive power on this team. We will take it game by game, and we know it’s going to come.”

jcohn@jg.net

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