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Komets notes: Beau returns, Thomas suspended, key dates upcoming

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Komets at Kalamazoo
Faceoff: 7 p.m.
Radio: WOWO, 1190-AM

Fort Wayne hopes for usual second-half surge

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - 6:01 am

After missing eight games with a sore shoulder, Thomas Beauregard can't wait to play tonight in Kalamazoo.

``It's not fun to miss that many games and just go to rehab every day and not be able to play,'' the forward said. ``Following the games on the Internet is not that much fun, either.''

The Komets will add Beauregard tonight and possibly forward Matt Syroczynski this weekend, and center Colin Chaulk is still getting rehabilitated from shoulder and foot injuries. If the Komets can get all three players back, it could be like adding a No. 1 offensive line to the roster.

``Beau is a pure goal scorer, and at some points this year we've been lacking that,'' center Brett Smith said. ``It's a big deal to get him back. We need to get him on fire here and make a good run.''

Beauregard has been playing on a line with Smith and Komets' leading scorer Brandon Marino in practice this week.

``Our goal is to get good position in the playoffs, and then you never know,'' Beauregard said. ``If we play well, like I know we can, then we're a hard team to play against.''

Against the Wings

Heading into tonight's game at Kalamazoo, the Komets are 3-3-1 at Kalamazoo this season and have two more games in Michigan after tonight. Brandon Marino has killed the Wings with 15 points in 11 games, and Thomas Beauregard has scored seven goals in eight games. Aaron Clarke leads the Wings with 14 points in 11 games. Kenny Reiter is 4-1-1 with a 2.00 goals-against average and .924 save percentage against Kalamazoo. Wings goaltender Joel Martin is 5-3-1 against the Komets with a 2.39 goals-against average and .923 save percentage.

Martin is the ECHL Goaltender of the Week after going 2-0-1 with a 1.94 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage in three appearances.

Thomas suspended for season

Former Komet Leo Thomas was suspended for the rest of the season Tuesday by the Southern Professional Hockey League. The Pensacola IceFlyers center came to the aid of teammate Brad Cooper while exiting the ice after a game Friday in Louisiana and became involved with a fan.

“Mr. Thomas could have assisted his teammate and helped defuse the incident, but instead escalated the situation and we cannot in any way condone or defend his actions,'' SPHL President Jim Combs said. ``Any confrontation with fans is a serious matter, but physically engaging a paying customer, for any reason, must result in a significant penalty.”

Pensacola coach and former Komets assistant Gary Graham said in a statement, ``Leo has been a great captain and a leader on and off the ice all season. He made a split-second decision to defend his teammate and unfortunately the decision that the league handed down has cost Leo his season with the Ice Flyers. While we don't agree to the length of Leo's suspension, we have to respect the SPHL's decision. Our team will handle this loss of our captain the best way we know how to, and that is by putting it behind us, moving on and continuing to produce wins."

Important dates upcoming

There could be a lot of changes over the next week for the Komets and every other ECHL team.

The deadline for players leaving for Europe is 6 p.m. Thursday, and the deadline for players returning from Europe is 5 p.m. Monday. The deadline for NHL and AHL players bought out of their contracts to appear on ECHL protected lists is Friday.

The ECHL trade deadline is 3 p.m. March 7. Players must play in at least five ECHL games to qualify for the playoff roster.

Cosmetically, the ECHL has already passed the reverse-jersey date, meaning teams will wear their traditionally dark road jerseys at home the rest of the regular season and their white uniforms on the road. That will switch back for the playoffs.

That won't affect the Komets until after this weekend because they will wear pink uniforms for the second year in a row. They are working in conjunction with the Vera Bradley Foundation to raise money for breast cancer research.

Second-half surges

Traditionally, at least since 2007, the Komets have been famous for strong second halves. The rookies get better, the veterans buy into coach Al Sims' systems and the team also usually makes a key acquisition or two to fill some holes. The Komets are 23-19-2 so far this season.

* 2006-07: 17-10-3, 34-11-3.

* 2007-08: 18-7-4, 38-6-4.

* 2008-09: 16-10-3, 30-8-9.

* 2009-10: 17-11-1, 33-10-4.

* 2010-11: 8-15-2, 23-12-6.

* 2011-2012: 22-11-2, 18-8-5.

Icing the puck

North Division teams -- Kalamazoo, Evansville, Cincinnati, Toledo and Fort Wayne -- are 19-16-4 against teams from the Atlantic Division and 17-22-1 against teams from the South Division. The Komets are 1-2-1 against the Atlantic and 6-3-0 against the South. ... Komets goaltender Kenny Reiter is 5-1-0 over his last six games with a 2.12 goals-against average and .930 save percentage. ... Fort Wayne is 9-0-0 when leading after the first period and 13-2-1 when leading after the second period. The Komets are also 9-3-1 when tied after the second period. Negatively, the Komets are 3-8-0 when trailing after the first and 1-14-0 when trailing after the second period. They are 14-2-2 in games decided by one goal.