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Komets' defense leading way

With 11 victories in their last 13 games, the Komets are feeling ultra-confident.

"We're seeing some dominating performances by this team," Fort Wayne coach Al Sims said.

Leading the way has been the defense, which has held teams scoreless in three of the last six games, including a 4-0 victory over Dayton on Sunday, in which Nick Boucher stopped 33 shots for his first shutout of the season.

Kevin Reiter has the other two shutouts – he stopped 20 Dayton shots in a 2-0 victory Feb. 12 and 28 Evansville shots in a 2-0 victory the next night – after Fort Wayne went the first 43 games of the season without a shutout.

"I think Reiter and Bouch have improved their play, definitely, and they're feeling the confidence that the whole team feels, that we can win every game," Sims said. "And I think they believe they can stop every puck and it's just a contagious thing that when you start winning: You expect to win and expectations usually come true.

"We're a very confident bunch right now."

The Komets, who were in the CHL's cellar until the first week of February, rank seventh among the nine teams in the Turner Conference. The top eight will make the playoffs.

Heading into Friday's game against the visiting Quad City Mallards, the Komets' defense ranks fourth in the 18-team league, allowing 2.9 goals per game.

Over this 13-game stretch, they've allowed only 2.08 goals per game.

"There has been so much influx this season, with different players coming in and out of the lineup, and now you are starting to see more stability … in our roster, especially in the back end," Boucher said. "The guys are learning to play with each other at this point, and we're better defensively."

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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