With 11 victories in their last 13 games, the Komets are confident.
Were seeing some dominating performances by this team, Fort Wayne coach Al Sims said.
The Komets have shutouts 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 shots in a 2-0 victory over Dayton on Feb. 12 and 28 shots in a 2-0 victory the next night against Evansville – 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 theyre 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 its just a contagious thing that when you start winning: You expect to win and expectations usually come true.
The Komets (24-20-5), who were in the CHLs cellar until the first week of February, are seventh among the nine teams in the Turner Conference. The top eight will make the playoffs.
Heading into todays game against the visiting Quad City Mallards (28-23-1), the Komets defense ranks fourth in the 18-team league, allowing 2.9 goals per game.
Over this 13-game stretch, theyve 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 were better defensively.
One of the boosts has been the addition of defenseman Michael Ratchuk, a former second-round NHL draft pick, who is on assignment from the Columbus Blue Jackets. He has five assists and a plus-2 rating in five games with Fort Wayne, but he could be called up to Springfield of the AHL at any time.
We just take it a game at a time, Sims said. Be happy hes here and use him as long as we can. If Springfield doesnt make the playoffs, (and theyre currently eight points back), then well have an opportunity to hopefully have him for the playoffs.
Its just a day-to-day thing at this point, and you just hope to get the most out of him that you can.
Notes: During tonights game, there will be a silent auction benefiting local childrens charities. Among the items: a signed, game-worn Colin Chaulk helmet. For Saturdays game against Evansville, the Komets will wear Indiana National Guard jerseys. There will be a silent auction for them during the game, benefiting the Indiana National Guard Relief Fund.