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at Dayton
When: 7 p.m. today
at Evansville
When: 8:35 p.m. Friday
at Missouri
When: 8:05 p.m. Saturday
Radio: All games 1190 AM

K’s hope busy schedule produces improved play

The Komets have played only five games in their inaugural Central Hockey League season, which began Oct. 16. That’s at least two fewer games than any other team and six fewer than Bossier-Shreveport.

For a team looking for consistency – the Komets are 2-3-1 – the staggered schedule hasn’t helped.

But that’s about to change.

Starting with tonight’s game at Dayton, the Komets will play three games in as many nights. On Friday, they skate at Evansville and on Saturday, they play at Independence, Mo.

“I think it’s what we need as a team, to get some consistency as a team,” Komets coach Al Sims said. “We’ll get to practice, in game situations, the things we’ve spent the last five weeks practicing (ourselves).”

One thing the Komets have been focusing on is special teams, as CHL officials have been cracking down on the clutching and grabbing that was allowed in the IHL.

“I think special teams seem to be really important this year,” Sims said. “There are more penalties in every game and you have to be in the top 10 on the power play and penalty kill if you’re going to have success.”

The Komets’ power play ranks 10th with an efficiency of 16.3 percent. The penalty kill ranks 13th at 81.3 percent.

The talk of needing to play better defense might be surprising given his team’s offensive woes. The Komets have only two even-strength goals, have been shut out twice and their offense ranks last among the CHL’s 18 teams with 1.5 goals per game.

But the Komets believe their offense starts with playing good defense.

“Coach tells us to just work on defense and the offense will come,” forward Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock said. “That way we’re not gripping our sticks too tight.”

The defense ranks sixth, allowing 3 goals per game.

“I think we’ve got to play together as a unit and come up in waves,” forward Derek Patrosso said. “Our goals-against is pretty good, but I think us forwards, as a team, can come back and support (the defensemen) better.

“At the same time, I think they can jump in the play and do a little more offensively, too, to help us get going a bit. They can throw the pucks in. There are a lot of things that go into scoring goals; it’s not just the forwards shooting pucks on net. Were we (forwards) off for the last five games? Absolutely. But it takes all five guys.”

Notes: Neil Musselwhite, who had 23 goals and 36 points in 29 games as a senior at Division III Oswego State, will try out for the Komets. The forward won the fastest-skater competition at the 2010 NCAA Frozen Four with an event record of 14.3 seconds. The Komets expect to decide next week whether to sign Musselwhite. … Forward Zak Ray, who had been on a one-week tryout, did not make the team.