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Komets hoping to turn around home record

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Kalamazoo at Komets
Faceoff: 8 p.m.
Radio: WOWO, 1190-AM

Team is 10-12 at Memorial Coliseum heading into two games

Friday, February 1, 2013 - 6:12 am

During the first 60 years of Komets hockey, the team finished with a losing home record only four times. They've been so good playing at Memorial Coliseum that they've won at least 20 home games 49 times.

This year, they are 10-12 with 14 home games remaining.

Every player knows the expectations and pressure in the locker room, which makes it baffling that the Komets have been unable to win more than two games in a row at home all season.

``We talk about it before every home game, coming out with a little spark and some excitement,'' defenseman Daniel Maggio said. ``That hasn't happened, and that needs to change.''

Maybe they should try not talking about it at all. Maybe the more they talk about it, the more they think about it and the bigger a distraction it becomes.

``I don't even think about it,'' veteran center Brett Smith said. ``Obviously, there is an issue to us winning at home and we can't find ways. A home game, a road game, it's a game of hockey. Normally, teams are a little bit better at home, but for some reason right now that's not the way it is.

``The more you are thinking about it, I think you won't play as well because you'll be gripping the stick a little tighter and you won't find it.''

Both coach Al Sims and General Manager David Franke have said the team has a goal of winning 10 of its remaining 14 home games. The Komets start with home games tonight against Kalamazoo and Saturday against North Division-leading Cincinnati before hitting the road for five straight games. They make that up by finishing the season playing eight of their final 12 games at home.

``It's not that we're not trying at home,'' defenseman Ryan Hegarty said. ``We have to keep it in perspective.''

The only reason they can keep it in perspective is because the Komets are so good on the road this season, 14-7-2. That also proves to the fans that this team ought to be doing much better at home.

``You have to try to limit the distractions, get your meal, go home and get ready,'' forward Kaleigh Schrock said. ``On the road you don't have to worry about anything. You just go and play.''

It's something of a legend that former Komets coach Robbie Laird once put his struggling team on a bus trip around the city before coming back to the coliseum for a home game. No one is proposing those kind of drastic measures... yet.

``We're trying, and we'll get it,'' defenseman Tyler Butler said. ``We'll figure it out.''