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A peak at K's first scrimmage

The Komets' first scrimmage had a little bit of everything, even almost a fight. Check it out. By Justin A. Cohn.

Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Patrick Knowlton fires a shot at goalie Francois Lacerte during a scrimmage at the Komets’ camp Sunday.

Camp’s scrimmages beneficial for Komets

On the second day of training camp Sunday, the Komets ramped things up with the first of five scrimmages at Memorial Coliseum.

For the players, it’s more fun to have games – betting on the outcome is common between the two squads of 14 players – and it enables them to improve their conditioning.

For coach Al Sims and general manager David Franke, it’s easier to discern from scrimmages who deserves a spot on the team in its first ECHL season.

“Those (scrimmages) are physical and that’s when it counts,” forward Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock said. “It’s when guys start playing the body. And that’s when you really start getting your hockey legs back.”

On Sunday, the Colin Chaulk-led White team defeated the Brett Smith-led Black team 4-2, led by two goals from Jean-Philipp Chabot. Brayden Metz and Mark Hoban also scored for White, while John Dunbar and Patrick Knowlton scored for Black.

All hockey teams scrimmage. Not all of them have practices twice a day – drillings in the morning, games in the afternoon – a routine that Sims began a few years ago.

“It’s a good time to get into game mode and get ready to get the season running,” center Eric Giosa said.

However, there are downsides for the players.

They don’t enjoy all the taking off of, and putting back on of, equipment. And some fear that cooling down for a few hours can lead to injuries.

Having scrimmages should allow the players to gain some chemistry and Sims to see what line combinations might work in the preseason games Saturday and Sunday at the Coliseum against Evansville. (The regular season opens Oct. 12 against visiting Kalamazoo.)

But no one is expecting highlight-reel type of goals during scrimmages, though some certainly wouldn’t hurt for players trying to make impressions. A fight, just to show off one’s toughness, wouldn’t be unheard of and Sunday, Nicolas Thommen tried to go with Chabot, who declined.

“It’s just about working hard and getting your legs (back),” Schrock said. “Guys aren’t going to be sharp, and guys won’t know each well (at first) and have a lot of chemistry, so it’s about showing the coaches what you can do and can’t do, and hopefully you don’t try to do things you can’t do.”

Clearly, the two-a-days have worked. The Komets won four championships – three in the now-defunct IHL – in the last five seasons.

“The biggest thing in training camp is getting your body in shape, getting your legs under you, wind, and getting ready for the season,” Giosa said. “Obviously, you don’t want to get hurt scrimmaging or in preseason, but you’ve got to get your body ready to go and in game shape. And scrimmages should be fun.”

Notes: Franke said center Chris Auger suffered a “lower-body injury” and is coming back from training camp with Norfolk of the American Hockey League. … Six Komets remain in AHL camps: Brandon Marino, Jean-Michel Rizk, Brent Henley, Daniel Maggio, Charlie Effinger and Kenny Reiter.