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vs. Arizona
When: 8 p.m. today vs. Dayton
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Radio: Both games 1190 AM

Komets defenseman: Outworking foes key

Captain Guy Dupuis believes the last-place Komets can turn this season around – they are off to a 2-6-1 start – and the keys sound simple to accomplish.

“With the talent we have on our team, we feel we should have a better record, and I think we just have to get back to basics and focus on outworking our opponents, game in and game out,” the 40-year-old defenseman said. “Whomever you are facing, you have to outwork your opponent. At times, we’ve been caught thinking too much on the ice, instead of just using our instincts.”

The Komets are coming off three straight championships in the IHL, but this is their first season in the 18-team Central Hockey League. They have scored only 13 goals, with all but three of those coming on power plays, and every skater has a negative plus/minus rating.

But Dupuis believes there is something positive to build upon.

“For sure, mostly after games, you see frustration being showed in some of the guys with the results,” Dupuis said. “But then again, a couple hours pass and when I talk with the guys, we feel we’ve been in (almost) all of those games. … It was just a momentum switch here or there, and we weren’t far from winning. And some of those games, we outplayed the teams.

“Right now, offensively, we have been struggling a little bit, yet we’re still ending up losing by only a goal or two. If we go back to basics and outwork our opponents, I think a true measure of our offensive potential will come through.”

The Komets defense ranks ninth, allowing 3 goals per game.

Tonight, they play host to the Arizona Sundogs, whom the Komets are 1-0-1 against this season. After their last meeting, a 2-1 Fort Wayne victory Oct. 23, Arizona goaltender Doug Groenestege was displeased with alleged showboating by the Komets.

“They really made a point to try to (anger) us when they tried to embarrass us at the end of the game,” Groenestege told the Daily Courier after the game. “They get their first win (of the season), they’ve won three championships, and they’re acting like it’s their first win in franchise history.”

The Komets have bigger things to worry about than possible retribution, though. Management has said the current nucleus has five games to turn things around or mass changes could be made.

“In every situation, if every guy looks in the mirror and tries to outwork every guy we face, eventually the tide will turn our way,” Dupuis said. “It may not be the next game, but eventually it will turn. We’re not inventing something new here. Everybody is pretty skilled, and if we focus back to basics, those skills will come through.”