When informed he had won his 500th game as Komets coach (including playoff games) on March 2, Al Sims laughed and said, ``That just makes me feel old.''
It's still an amazing accomplishment, one that will likely never be matched. How many coaches last as long as 10 years in a single city now? It probably won't happen much with players or coaches in the future.
Sims also has a chance at another milestone. If the Komets finish above .500, it will be the 10th time in 10 seasons with Sims as coach, which is remarkable considering that encompasses four leagues.
Though they likely won't make the playoffs, the Komets have had 13 consecutive winning seasons. Including a 33-33-16 record in 1999-2000, they have not has a below .500 record since 1996-97, which was the worst record in the franchise's 61-year history. Since 1977-78, or 35 seasons, the Komets have had only three losing seasons.
If they win their final three home games, the Komets also have a chance to avoid a losing home record for the fifth time in franchise history.
The Komets head into tonight's game against Reading eight points behind Toledo with six games remaining. The Walleye have a little bit of a tough schedule as they host Evansville tonight, play at Kalamazoo on Friday and then host Eastern Conference-leading Reading on Saturday and Sunday. The Walleye finish up next week by playing at Fort Wayne next Wednesday and closing at Wheeling on March 29.
The Komets will crack the 250,000 mark in attendance tonight for the 22nd consecutive season... Brandon Marino ranks fourth in the ECHL scoring race with 70 points. Gwinnett's Casey Pierro-Zabotel amd Florida's Mathieu Roy lead the league with 74 points each... Despite being gone from the Komets for more than a month, Daniel Maggio is still third in rookie penalty minutes with 147... For most of the season, the Komets led the ECHL in penalty minutes, but they've cut that average to 19.44 per game.
Deja vu for Reiter
There's little doubt when this season is looked back on in a few years, the most memorable moments will mostly include the play of rookie goaltender Kenny Reiter. Now playing with Bridgeport of the American Hockey League, Reiter shut out Hershey on the road Saturday night by making 31 saves. The only problem is his teammates failed to score as well, and the SoundTigers lost the game in overtime.
That's the second time this year that Reiter has lost a shutout in overtime or a shootout because he also did it with the Komets in Kalamazoo on Oct. 19. In a statistical oddity, the Komets have split four games this season decided by 1-0 scores.
Despite having a very respectable .913 save percentage and 2.69 goals-against average, Reiter is 0-4-1 this season with Bridgeport.
Daniel Maggio also continues to play well for Lake Erie in the AHL with a goal and three points in 14 games this season. He's also a plus-3 with 49 penalty minutes.
Since Reiter was called up Feb. 2 and Maggio on Feb. 3, the Komets are 7-11-1, including 3-5 in games decided by one goal. Fort Wayne was 25-20-1-1 before that and held sixth place in the ECHL's Eastern Conference.
The Komets were also four games over .500 when the NHL lockout ended and are three games under since.
So long, Robby
When Todd Robinson left the Evansville IceMen for the Central Hockey League's Allen Americans before Sunday's game, it further points out that there's no reciprocal agreement between the CHL and ECHL on honoring each other's contracts. Why not?
Well, for one thing, Fort Wayne, Evansville and Colorado -- all former CHL teams -- were the only ECHL teams to vote for such an agreement.
It looks like Robinson, 34, might consider retiring after this season to return home to Muskegon. If that happens, he'll finish his career against the Komets with 95 games played, 28 goals and 150 points over 11 seasons.
Icing the puck
Komets defenseman Scott Kishel has been suspended another game for his boarding major last Friday against Kalamazoo and will miss tonight's contest... After winning five-straight games from Oct. 27 to Nov. 9, the Komets did not have a three-game winning streak the rest of the season, and won two games in a row only five times. Except for their six-game losing streak in February, they lost as many as three games in a row only once all season... The Komets have used 49 players this season compared to 27 last year. The franchise record for a season is 52... The Komets have returned all the trophies they won last spring to the Central Hockey League... last week's stretch of scoring 22 goals in three home games has boosted the Komets' average for the season to 2.91. The franchise record for worst goals for is 2.72 in 1996-97... The Komets are 22-21-1 against fellow North Division members... The Komets are 18-4-4 all-time against Elmira where they play Friday and Saturday.