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Komets

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Komets
vs. Cincinnati
When: 8 p.m. today
at Kalamazoo
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
vs. Wheeling
When: 5 p.m. Sunday
Radio: 1190 AM, 92.3 FM

With pressure off, Komets forward excels

C. Ouellet

– When Christian Ouellet was in Elmira, there was more pressure on him to score every game. But the Komets are a deeper team, and he can play both ends of the ice, which he does, and the results have been good.

The Komets are 7-1-2 in their last 10 games, and Ouellet, a 22-year-old right wing, has one goal, six points and a minus-1 rating.

“All three lines can score goals and all three lines can play defensively. We all are capable of playing well together,” Ouellet said.

The Komets (22-14-1) play host to the Cincinnati Cyclones (26-18-2) tonight at Memorial Coliseum. The Komets won 4-2 at Cincinnati on Wednesday – Mike Embach had a hat trick against his former team – and Fort Wayne is 4-0-1 in the season series.

The Komets have pulled into fourth place in the Eastern Conference. The top eight teams will make the playoffs, and Fort Wayne has 26 games remaining in the regular season.

Ouellet had three goals, 10 points and a minus-5 rating in 19 games with Elmira before he and forward Matt Carter were traded to the Komets on Jan. 6 for star forward Mike Vaskivuo and defenseman Nik Pokulok.

Ouellet has three goals and nine points in 16 games with the Komets. Carter has four goals and five points in 15 games with Fort Wayne.

Vaskivuo has 10 goals and 23 points in 16 games with Elmira. Pokulok has two assists in 13 games.

Ouellet, who isn’t related to the Komets’ Dean Ouellet but they were teammates last season in San Francisco, said it has eased his transition to have Carter with him in Fort Wayne.

“I think I’ve played well with Carter and we have good chemistry together,” said Christian Ouellet, who had 17 goals and 37 points in 66 games last season with Gwinnett and San Francisco after a prolific junior career with Gatineau and Chicoutimi of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

“The coach here (Gary Graham) has had a lot of confidence in us, and we just make plays and work hard. It’s fun when all three lines, six defensemen and both goalies are playing great, and that’s why we’ve been winning a lot of games.”

Heading into tonight, Fort Wayne’s Brandon Marino leads the ECHL with 60 points, including 20 goals. Chris Auger is tied for second with 22 goals, six behind former Fort Wayne teammate Mickey Lang.

“For us, there’s something special happening in our locker room, and we’re all starting to believe that and we’re working together. And we’re putting the work in during practice,” said Graham, whose Komets missed the postseason last year.

jcohn@jg.net

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