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  • Scoring chances at premium for Komets
    During the regular season, the Komets and Reading Royals had two of the better offenses in the ECHL, yet they’ve combined for only nine goals through the first two games of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinals series.
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      Now that the truth can really be told, the Komets didn’t just want to win one game at Santander Arena. They wanted them both. And deep into the third period Saturday night, they had a chance to accomplish their goal.
  • Penalty-killers keep Royals from feasting
    The Komets lost 4-2 to the Reading Royals on Saturday, tying the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinals at one game apiece.But there’s no blaming the Komets’ penalty-killing unit.
Laura J. Gardner | The Journal Gazette
Komets forward Tom Mele has two goals, three points and plus-1 rating in 12 playoff games. “I just try to go out there and make something happen and hopefully it works,” said Mele, the Komets’ 10th forward.

Forward provides constant energy

– None of the Komets who played in the seven-game Turner Conference finals victory over the Missouri Mavericks saw less playing time than Tom Mele.

But not everyone had as big an impact.

The Komets’ 10th forward, in his first full professional season, is known for his energy, his punishing hits and his opportunistic goal scoring.

In the last two games, those attributes were apparent.

Coach Al Sims put him in the starting lineup Tuesday and his early hit energized the Komets, who went on to a 4-1 Game 6 victory. He started again in Game 7 and his goal, just after he got off the bench in the second period, tied it at 2 in what became a 6-4 victory for Fort Wayne.

“Nobody could beat (Mavericks goalie) Charlie Effinger going in like that the entire series,” Sims said of Mele’s 15-foot wrist shot from the slot. “And Mele beat him.”

Mele had six goals, 17 points and a plus-10 rating in 51 regular-season games. Even though Sims has said Mele could skate on the top line of most teams in the CHL, he’s been relegated to spot duty in the postseason.

“You’ve got to approach every game the same,” said Mele, who has two goals, three points and plus-1 rating in 12 playoff games. “You start preparing the night before. If you get one shift or 20 shifts, I just try to go out there and make something happen and hopefully it works. As long as we’re winning, I’ll sit on the bench as much as I have to.”

To win the President’s Cup finals, the Komets will have to steal at least one road game and continue to get scoring from role players like Mele and defenseman Jamie Lovell, who also scored Thursday.

“It’s huge when you get scoring from unexpected sources,” Sims said. “Tommy was great in the entire series (with Missouri). Whether he got one shift in a game or 10 shifts in a game, he found a way to help our team win.

“He’s playing his best hockey at this time of the year.”

Forward Chris Auger agreed.

“I can’t say enough about (Mele),” Auger said. “In the (Missouri) series and even the Rapid City series, he had more and more responsibility. And he’s responding. For a team to go far in the playoffs, you need depth.”