FORT WAYNE – With 10 games remaining until the CHL playoffs, there are a number of things the Komets are trying to clean up.
Chief among them is making sure they get off to better starts.
The Komets, who are 27-23-6 and were tied with Dayton for sixth place in the Turner Conference heading into Tuesday night, are 16-8-5 when scoring the first goal.
When allowing the first goal, they are 11-15-1.
When our team comes out and has a good start, 99 percent of the time, we play well. If we come out and have a bad start, we’re not sure who’s going to show up, captain Colin Chaulk said. We have to try to put ourselves in those positions, get the first goal, jump on teams.
Here are some other keys to the final 10 games of the season:
Get a killer instinct
The Komets lost 16 of their first 21 games, then won 20 of 29, then lost 4 of 5 before beating Evansville 5-1 on Sunday.
No one can figure this team out, not even the Komets themselves.
We’re trying to stress that when things don’t go well for you, personally or professionally, that’s when people look at you and say, These guys, they don’t have it,’ Chaulk said. That’s when you’ve got to push back and say, You know what? We’re going to play the same way, whether we’re down by five or up by five. We’re going to make smart decisions with the puck and keep the pressure on them.’
The Komets are at their worst in the second periods of games, when they’ve been outscored 69-53.
They have outscored the opposition 48-45 in the first and 55-48 in the third periods.
Work on the offense
The Komets’ defense, which ranks fourth, allowing 3 goals per game, has been reliable. The offense ranks 16th with 2.88 goals per game, and if the line of Chaulk, Tab Lardner and Derek Patrosso isn’t producing, there’s real trouble.
If you look at our numbers, we’re (fourth) in power play and penalty killing, coach Al Sims said. I think we need to get confident in scoring goals. (Our) defense will be there, but we’ve got to find a way to get to three or four (goals) every night.
That isn’t just about finishing, though; it’s about breaking the puck out of the defensive zone better. The Komets have been prone to turning the puck over. Having all-star defenseman Frankie DeAngelis miss the last five games with a concussion hasn’t helped. If the other team makes three or four passes up the ice and then scores, then good for them, Chaulk said. But let’s not give them the chances by turning the puck over.