Tonight and Saturday, the Komets play host to the Wichita Thunder.
It will be only the second and third times Fort Wayne has taken on the Thunder, one of 11 opponents the Komets have seen in their inaugural Central Hockey League season.
The lack of familiarity the Komets have with their opponents is a contrast to the last three seasons, when there were only six or seven teams in the International Hockey League and, by the time December came around, the Komets knew the oppositions tendencies pretty well.
When we go into some of these games, were going in not as familiar as we were (last season), Komets goaltender Nick Boucher said. You are expecting to see something new, as prepared as you try to be. You just dont know, from a goaltending standpoint, where a guy shoots the puck. You can look at the stats and see he has a lot of points, but you just dont know, for instance, who shoots high or who shoots low.
But the players enjoy the novelty; they were as bored as the fans at seeing the same opponents over and over in the IHL.
Its nice to play some different teams, Boucher said.
When readying for unfamiliar teams like Wichita, coach Al Sims and assistant Gary Graham break down video and prepare a scouting report for the players to read. If the Komets have played a team several times before – Dayton has been faced nine times, for example – the coaches are more likely to hold a detailed film session for the players to watch.
With as many problems as the Komets (16-18-5) have had this season – their 37 points are tied for 16th most among the CHLs 18 teams – Fort Wayne has been better served trying to fix its own problems.
It helps us stick to our game plan and (hone) whats working, or not working, with us, defenseman Frankie DeAngelis said. We concentrate not so much on what theyre doing, but what our game plan is and what we should be doing. But it all depends on how much time we have at practice and between games.
Despite their prowess on the road, where theyve won seven in a row, the longest streak in the CHL this season, the Komets are 1-3-3 in their last seven games at Memorial Coliseum.
Despite averaging a league-best 7,388 fans per game, the Komets are 7-9-3 at the Coliseum.
For whatever reason, unfortunately, weve kind of been snake bit at home, Boucher said. On the flip side, the other side of the coin, were having a lot of success on the road. Weve had a couple seasons like that, though. Weve got to find a way, especially at home, to get the first goal, maybe the first two goals.
In the only previous meeting with Wichita (23-15-3), the Komets lost 5-1 on the road Dec. 10.
Notes: Saturday is Report Card Night. Students with an A grade, or equivalent, receive a free ticket. Simply present a copy of the report card, or a letter from a teacher, at the Coliseum box office. You can do that in advance of the game. The game typically sells out, so its advised you do so early.