Komets coach Al Sims always has distinct goals for his hockey team.
``We want to win first place,’’ Sims said. ``We have had good success against Cincinnati this year, and that’s who we have to chase down.’’
Chasing down the Cyclones almost got a lot tougher Saturday night in Evansville. The Komets trailed 2-0 after the first period and were facing their second three-game losing streak of the season. Instead, Kaleigh Schrock came out and fought the IceMen’s Jim McKenzie to spark a rally and the Komets came back to win 4-2.
``Kaleigh being the leader that he is, he went out and did something that I asked the team to do between the first and second,’’ Sims said by phone interview. ``We took over the game from there on. We had to turn some things around., and any time you are down two goals on the road and come back and win it, it's a great effort.’’
The win pushed the Komets back into second place in the ECHL’s North Division, one point ahead of Toledo which was idle. The Walleye host Evansville today. Cincinnati lost in overtime to Kalamazoo and holds a seven-point lead over the Komets with both teams having played 44 games. There are 28 remaining in the schedule. The Cyclones are at Wheeling today.
The Komets are off until Wednesday when they will play at Kalamazoo and welcome forward Thomas Beauregard back to the lineup after missing several games with a sore shoulder. Fort Wayne is also going to add captain Colin Chaulk and newly signed forward Matt Syroczynski to the lineup soon.
``Right now to win with the lineup we're playing with is huge,’’ Sims said. ``The kids are doing the job.’’
Recent call-ups like Mike Hoban, John Dunbar and Nick Wheeler continue to play well for the Komets. Dunbar scored the game-tying goal in the second period, his third in six games.
Forward Brandon Marino was the star of the game as he scored twice and assisted on one goal. With his three points, Marino loves into second place in the league scoring race, one point behind Ontario’s Colton Yellow Horn with 51 points. Marino is also second in the league in assists with 36, one behind Evansville's Todd Robinson, who had two Saturday night.
Robinson had no goals and eight assists in seven games against the Komets this season and is minus-6. Marino leads the Komets against the IceMen with seven goals and 13 points and is plus-5 in six games. Goaltender Kenny Reiter is 4-0 against the IceMen this season, and the Komets are 5-2.
The Komets, 13-7-2 on the road, have won six of their last eight games away from home. Reiter also made 20 saves to improve to 9-4-1 away from Memorial Coliseum. Reiter has won six of his last seven games and eight of his last 10.
What Sims is really hoping for is that the Komets can put together another strong second half, which has become a tradition in their 10 years with him as coach.
``We always do and the second half is always better than the first half for us,’’ he said. ``We hope that holds true.’’