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The Journal Gazette

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets' Artur Tyanulin goes behind the net Sunday against Kalamazoo. The Komets are in Reading, Pa., today.

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets right wing Artur Tyanulin looks to pass the puck in the first period against Kalamazoo at Memorial Coliseum on Sunday.  

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 1:00 am

Shea joins long list of injured Komets

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Komets at Reading

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Santander Arena, Reading, Pa.

at Adirondack

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Cool Insuring Arena, Glens Falls, N.Y.

at Worcester

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: DCU Center, Worcester, Mass.

Radio: 1190 AM, 107.5 FM

Maybe any other time, the injury to Bobby Shea would have been treated with a certain level of amazement.

Shea was injured in the Komets' 6-3 loss to the Kalamazoo Wings on Sunday when a teammate, Garrett Thompson, accidentally lined him up with a body check that sent him sprawling to the ice with what the team is calling an upper-body injury.

But the Komets have been so ravaged by injuries, they simply rolled their eyes, thought “just our luck” and moved on.

The Komets, who play the Reading Royals at 7 p.m. today in Reading, Pennsylvania, have an injured list that includes three of their best defensemen, Cody Sol, Ryan Culkin and Shea, along with captain Jamie Schaafsma and fellow forwards Mason Baptista, Justin MacDonald and Taylor Crunk.

And those are just the ones so injured they can't actually participate in games.

“Every team goes through it. You tighten your bootstraps a little tighter and you work a little harder,” forward Dennis Kravchenko said. “You pick everybody else up. ... You have to figure it out. It's OK, it happens in hockey.”

Additionally, forward Trevor Cheek and goaltender Michael Houser are with Tucson of the higher-level American Hockey League.

“There are a lot of different moving parts we're trying to figure out,” said coach Gary Graham, whose Komets (41-16-3) have lost only five of their last 25 games and could clinch a playoff spot today, even though there are still 12 games left in the regular season.

Where the Komets have really felt the weight of the injuries has been on special teams and with their defensive play. Graham lambasted the forwards for their unwillingness to take care of their own zone Sunday, saying that their offense-first style may land players big contracts in the summer but won't win them a championship before that.

“Against any team that's playing good defensive hockey, good playoff-style hockey, it's not going to come easy and it shouldn't,” Graham said.

On their three-game eastern road trip, the Komets will face Reading (33-21-7) for the first time this season, Adirondack (34-21-7) for the second, having lost to the Thunder 4-2 on Nov. 3, and Worcester (27-25-7) also for the first time.

The Komets are 19-10-0 on the road this season.

“Going out east will be good,” Kravchenko said. “We're road warriors. We take pride in that, take pride in taking care of the road. Going to Reading, Adirondack and the teams we haven't seen, it will be a good test for our team.”

Notes: The Quad City Mallards, who have been rivals of the Komets in four different leagues, announced they will cease operations after this season citing financial reasons and lack of desire from their owner. ... St. John's, Newfoundland, will join the ECHL next season. ... The ECHL said the Central Division will include Cincinnati, Fort Wayne, Indy, Kalamazoo, Toledo and Wheeling. ... Artur Tyanulin is on a nine-game point-scoring streak. He also has a point in nine straight road games.