With the Komets ranking 20th out of the 23 ECHL teams in goals scored per game, the statistics for the forward line of Kaleigh Schrock, J.M. Rizk and Stephon Thorne are a little shocking in a couple of ways.
* They have not scored a goal or an assist so far in six games.
* Conversely, despite always playing against the other team's top offensive line, they have not allowed a goal when playing five-on-five.
Both stats are somewhat remarkable. As coach Al Sims says, they are still creating havoc wherever they go. Everyone would like to see a little more at the offensive end, but there's no way they are hurting the team at all defensively.
``I think it's just a confidence thing more than anything,'' Sims said. ``The longer it goes the less confident you get, the more you struggle and the tighter you squeeze your stick. Rather than being relaxed around the net, you are a little bit uptight, but you can't say enough about their defense. They are going against the top line everywhere and still creating opportunities for themselves so it's going to happen for them.''
Nicknamed the ``Redrum Line'' last year because they like to murder opponents (It's a reference to Stephen King's ``The Shining''), the line was a spectacular success throughout the season and especially during the playoffs. This year, all three players were hoping to contribute more offensively.
``After last year going 16 games last year without a goal, I really don't care as long we're doing other things to help the team win,'' Schrock said. ``We have enough goal scorers that if we can go out there and shut down the other team's top line, we're going to have a great chance to win every night, especially getting under the other team's skin. You can see it in their eyes sometimes when we are playing hard and playing physical that they don't want to be out there with us. That's the kind of game we want to play.''
There's nobody better at that. Saturday night against Gwinnett, the line controlled play 60 percent of their time in the ice, usually keeping the Gladiators' top line from even getting out of their own zone.
``We've been struggling to try to get some points, but we knew we have to play a certain role going against the other team's top lines,'' Thorne said. ``We know we have to be a pain in everyone's butts in every kind of form. We know we'll eventually get it. We have to stay focused and keep going.''
Sometimes the hardest part of not scoring is not thinking about it too much. They have all had chances to score, but they've been unable to lift the puck, they've shot it wide or they've just missed bouncing pucks.
``It's tough, but we know as long as we're winning that's all that matters to us,'' Rizk said. ``You put individual goals aside and just become a teammate and focus on that for now. You just try to focus and bring yourself back in the present moment and the present game and focus on what we have to do the next shift.
It would be nice if we could chip in offensively, but as long as we're giving our best defensively, for now that's all we can give.''
And none of them doubts they eventually will score.
``We just have to keep going to the net and good things will happen,'' Schrock said. ``We're getting chances, but they aren't going in yet. We have a lot to look forward to if we keep playing like that.''