CINCINNATI – A year ago, the Komets missed the playoffs, something that hadn’t happened since 2002. They overhauled their roster almost completely, brought in a new coach, Gary Graham, and ended ties with their NHL affiliate, the Anaheim Ducks.
The ECHL playoffs ended sooner than they’d hoped it would after entering on an 8-2-1 run, but it looks to have been a successful season. Or, at least it was a season of improvement.
As the eighth and final seed in the Eastern Conference, Fort Wayne ousted top-seeded, defending-champion Reading in a first-round, five-game series. And then the Komets took the fifth-seeded Cincinnati Cyclones to a sixth game, losing 4-1 Tuesday night at U.S. Bank Arena.
We’re satisfied with the way the season turned out. Are there things we need to change for next season? Absolutely, Komets President Michael Franke said. As far as the product is concerned on the ice, yes (we need some changes), but all in all, we’re very happy with what took place this year.
We’d have liked to have had a better home record this year. That’s something we have to work on, and we need to become a bigger hockey team up front. We need to become more physical, and that’s going to be very, very important, too.
The Komets went 36-24-12 in the regular season after going 33-35-4 last season under coach Al Sims.
Komets forward Brandon Marino suffered a leg injury after crashing into the boards at 12:52 of the third period and had to leave the game. The Komets didn’t know how serious it was Tuesday night. Marino, who led the ECHL with 88 points this season and was third in MVP voting, had only two assists and minus-9 rating in the series. He had one goal, five points and a minus-11 rating in the playoffs.
The Komets’ annual end-of-season party and jersey auction will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Appleseed Room in Memorial Coliseum. Admittance is $5. Season-ticket holders and kids younger than 12 get in free. The Komets’ power play was 2 for 19 in the series, 2 for 32 in the postseason. Cincinnati’s wasn’t much better at 2 for 15 in the series, 3 for 31 in the playoffs.