FORT WAYNE – Komets coach Al Sims didn’t want to put too much pressure on his youngest players, keeping his offensive expectations low.
We were always hoping they would chip in a couple goals every now and then, but now they’re starting to believe in themselves that they can score, Sims said. Confidence for young guys is huge and going into the playoffs, they’re going to be a factor.
The Komets (36-17-3) have won six of their last seven games heading into today’s game against Wichita at Memorial Coliseum. The Thunder (38-15-2) leads the Berry Conference, while the Komets trail Evansville by a point for first place in the Turner Conference.
Over this seven-game stretch, second-year player Chris Auger has four goals and nine points, second-year Artem Podshendyalov has three goals and four points, rookie Jean-Michel Rizk has three goals and five points and rookie Stephon Thorne has three goals and six points.
The Komets scored twenty-four goals in that time, with 14 of them coming from first- and second-year players.
With us, we always hope our rookies are better come March than they were in October, Sims said.
Ours have certainly developed. It’s great to see your young guys do this because you know, in the playoffs, they’ll be confident they can do it in this league. They’re starting to do it on a regular basis.