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Komets

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No trade in K’s plans, but that could change

– There’s less than a week until the CHL’s Monday trade deadline, and the Komets are evaluating the need for changes.

“Are we actively looking to make a change? No,” general manager David Franke said. “But that could certainly change as the week progresses.”

Franke believes the Komets have the talent to win a championship after reaching the Turner Conference semifinals last year, but the team needs to better prove its desire.

The Komets (25-13-2) have lost seven of their last 12 games and fallen two points behind Evansville for the lead in the Turner Conference with 26 games remaining. “The biggest thing is we’ve got to get more consistent and positive play,” Franke said, “like we had a month to a month and a half ago (when the Komets won 14 of 17 games).”

The Komets’ lineup has been stable this season. The only players gone from the opening-night roster are goaltender Kevin Beech and defenseman Tristin Llewellyn, while the additions have been goalies Gerry Festa and Alex Kangas, who is on injured reserve with a hip injury and may not return this season.

“Right now, we’re going to reflect on where we’re at,” Franke said. “We’re open to doing some things. But are we in a serious situation? I don’t feel that.”

Fort Wayne is coming off a 6-3 loss Saturday at Prescott Valley, Ariz., to the Arizona Sundogs (13-22-7).

The Komets play the Quad City Mallards (23-17-1) on Friday at Moline, Ill.

After the trade deadline, the Komets have until Feb. 13 to sign players who began the season in Europe. Those players include popular former Komets Justin Hodgman and Luciano Aquino. Franke said it’s unlikely Hodgman or Aquino will return because the price would be too high for the Komets.

The Komets are also bracing for a suspension to defenseman Brent Henley, who got 27 minutes in penalties Saturday for instigating a fight with Arizona’s Jean-Philipp Chabot. Because it took place in the final five minutes, Henley will get at least one game from the league, Franke said.

Defenseman Dustin Molle, who has a groin injury, will probably sit the next two weeks.

jcohn@jg.net

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