FORT WAYNE – Like many of his teammates, Frankie DeAngelis was a bit in awe of Jamie Milam last season.
Last year, he put a puck through the net in a game against us and we were like, Oh my gosh, you cant get in front of that one. Hes got a pretty hard shot. Im just happy to have him on our team now, DeAngelis said.
Clearly, some of Milam has rubbed off on DeAngelis, even if only one of them can shoot the puck in the neighborhood of 100 mph.
DeAngelis has a career-high 16 goals, second among CHL defensemen, and 39 points, which ranks third. Milam has 17 goals and 34 points.
Both have played 55 games, though DeAngelis has a superior plus-13 rating, while Milam is minus-7.
DeAngelis is accustomed to being half of a great tandem of offensive defensemen, teaming with the now-retired Guy Dupuis from 2009 to 2011. But Dupuis was a stay-at-home defensemen who evolved into a tactical scorer, while Milam is a converted forward who likes to attack.
(Milam) is a new guy, fresh blood, DeAngelis said. He teaches me a lot of things out there that help my game out. Hes just a great player, offensively and defensively.
Its never been more clear that DeAngelis is channeling Milam than in the Komets 5-4 loss to Bloomington on Feb. 17. Playing three men short of a full lineup because of injuries and a brawl earlier in the game, DeAngelis had two short-handed goals, both while Fort Wayne was killing off major penalties.
That was unbelievable, forward Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock said. We needed him to give us a shot in that game and he did.
In the last nine games, DeAngelis had six goals and 10 points. The Komets (35-17-3) went 6-2-1 in that stretch, and theyre three points back of Evansville for first place in the Turner Conference heading into tonights game in Moline, Ill., against the Quad City Mallards.
I just think hes shooting the puck, Schrock said of DeAngelis, who has 118 shots after he had 102 in one fewer game last season.
This year, our defensemen are a lot more offensive. They like to jump up in the play, Schrock added. Especially having Milam here and seeing how he likes to jump up, thats rubbed off on Frankie a bit. Hes always been offensive minded. But in the past, maybe we havent had that other guy.
As a rookie, DeAngelis helped the Komets to the 2010 IHL championship. Milam and Komets center Brett Smith were part of now-defunct Bossier-Shreveports CHL championship squad last year.
The Komets have a lot of points from the back end. Jamie Lovell has five goals and 21 points. Brent Henley, who hadnt scored since 2006-07, has career highs with three goals and 12 points. Henley also leads all CHL players with a plus-28 rating.
(Were) just keeping it simple and getting our shots through from the point, DeAngelis said. And on the rush, if we take care of things in our end, one quick pass to the forwards and theyre putting it in the back of the net and getting us the assists.