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Ice Chips

  • Komets sign three players
    The Komets added goaltender Eric Levine, forward Nicola Levesque and defenseman Paul Arnott to their roster Tuesday, giving them 24 players so far for the upcoming season.
  • Komets sign defenseman James Martin
    The Komets have signed defenseman James Martin, who spent last season with the Alaska Aces and won the ECHL championship.
  • Komets sign forward Pistilli
    The Komets have signed forward Matthew Pistilli and reached an agreement with Konstantin Shafranov to be an assistant coach for a second straight season.
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The slump continues

Just a random thought here: Maybe adding Konstantin Shafranov to the lineup could break the slump, eh?

Everyone knew there would come a time when a player or two would have to step up and establish themselves as the leader(s) of the Komets, in the wake of center Colin Chaulk's departure in the offseason.

Five games into Fort Wayne's first Central Hockey League season, that time has already come. A 4-0 loss to the Bloomington PrairieThunder, in front of 7,206 boredom-stricken fans at Memorial Coliseum on Friday night, left the Komets with a 1-3-1 record.

"It just can't get any worse," coach Al Sims said. "We've got to at some point get a break."

Fort Wayne has netted only one even-strength goal and been outscored 14-5. On home ice, the Komets have been outscored 8-0 in two games.

It's the first time the Komets have been shut out in back-to-back home games since 2006-07.

"In my 15-year career, these have been the five most frustrating games I've been through," left wing P.C. Drouin said.

Which explains why the most excitement Friday came when the local high school football scores were announced, and when there were only 60 seconds remaining in the game everyone except the PrairieThunder would like to forget.

"The longer is takes for us to score, the more the frustration builds up and the more the confidence goes down the drain," said Drouin, whose team won the last three championships in the IHL before being absorbed by the CHL. "You saw what happened there in the third period – we were over-thinking things and tried to force the plays and turned over some easy goals to the other team."

The Komets have had their chances to score this season – they came into Friday averaging 33.25 shots, sixth best among 18 teams – and Sims has been tinkering with the lines throughout games to try and find the combinations that will break through the slump.

"We're struggling and squeezing our sticks and struggling to make every play and we've got to stay positive," Sims said. "We're just shooting ourselves in the foot, whether it's taking a penalty at a bad time or … not getting many breaks around the net.

"We're shooting it right into the goalie. It's tough. The guys are really feeling it and you can see it, I think, in their game. They're frustrated and it's just tough on them right now. We've got to get on track at home."

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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