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  • Giving thanks for practice
      The Komets spend a lot of time practicing shootouts, which isn’t surprising given their 8-8 record in them in their first two seasons in the ECHL.
  • Komets forward makes it look easy
    In the Komets’ last game, a 3-1 loss to the Greenville Road Warriors at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, forward Eric Faille had one of the easier goals you’ll see at a professional hockey game.
  • Ks cough up puck, game to Greenville
    For the first time this season, the Komets aren’t on top of the Eastern Conference standings. Losing three of five games will do that to a team.
Top plays of Komets season so far

See the top 20 plays of the Komets' 2012-13 season, through Dec. 23, 2012. Video by Justin A. Cohn

Man-advantage letting K’s down

– The Komets have the worst power play in the 23-team ECHL. It has scored on 13 of 103 opportunities with the man-advantage for an efficiency of 12.6 percent, which is 2.1 percentage points lower than any other team.

Almost as bad, the Komets have given up six short-handed goals, the fourth most in the league.

This has been a key component – and an uncharacteristic one – of the Komets’ struggles this season, as they’ve gone 14-12-2.

Asked about the problems on the power play, coach Al Sims said it was more about personnel than anything.

“You look at two rookies on the point and that tells you about our power play,” said Sims, referring to Daniel Maggio and Ryan Hegarty, who have combined for one goal and three assists on the power play. “We only have one (defenseman) who has played the power play in the past, and that’s Tyler Butler. We have nobody else, so we’re just trying to get along with what we’ve got and put the best people out there.”

While the Komets had hoped to re-sign star defenseman Frankie DeAngelis last summer – he ultimately retired – the defensive corps are what the Komets signed and what was sent down by the parent Anaheim Ducks; injuries haven’t robbed the Komets of any power-play defensemen, though injured center Colin Chaulk (foot) has run the point this season.

Forward Brandon Marino has been the Komets’ top weapon on the power play with one goal and seven assists. Forwards Josh Brittain, Brett Smith, Ryan Lasch and Jean-Michel Rizk all have two power-play goals.

“We created some opportunities and I thought we had some chances on the power play (in the 5-2 loss to Trenton on Saturday),” Sims said. “Lasch walked right out in the slot in the second period and that kid made a good save. But it’s going to be tough all season for us on the power play because the power play is five guys, it’s not three or four. Unfortunately, we have some inexperienced guys back there.”

There is a moratorium on trading in the ECHL until Wednesday because of the holidays, and you can expect the Komets to continue to try to improve this facet of their roster. They acquired defenseman Tim Priamo from Wheeling last week for future considerations, and he could make his debut Thursday against Toledo at Memorial Coliseum. But in 22 games last season with the Nailers, he didn’t have a point on the power play.

What do the Komets need to do to improve their power play, which ranked second in the 14-team CHL last season at 19.67 percent?

“Most power plays are about shots getting through to the net and getting traffic,” Sims said. “If you do that, you can get some tips and some easy goals. If you don’t, then you are working on the perimeter and it’s tough to score.”