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Komets notes: A new job, Movember growth rate and fueling rumors

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For more on the Komets, follow Blake Sebring on Twitter at www.twitter.com/blakesebring and at his blog, www.tailingthekomets.com.

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Penalty kill is improving and Dunbar is released

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 6:31 am

Former Komet Kevin Reiter has a new job, and it's one that has him traveling farther and more often than he even did as a player.

Reiter is the goalie coach for USA Hockey's National Team Development Program, which would be plenty, but the job is more complex than that. Reiter is also the coordinator of the Warren Strelow National Goaltending Mentor Program, which is designed to recruit, develop and produce elite netminders in the United States. His responsibilities include planning, designing and executing the regular on-ice practices for goaltenders at the National Team Development Program, as well as scouting and evaluating the nation's top goaltending prospects.

He recently returned from a 17-and-younger four-team tournament in Slovakia.

``I'm in charge of a network of scouts throughout the U.S. that report to me on a weekly basis about the talent in certain areas, and then I go out and scout those players they suggest,'' Reiter said. ``I've been on the road a lot already with our teams and to try and get early looks at most of the goalies we have already identified. Between tournaments, games and scouting, I spend about half the month on the road.''

Reiter, 32, played with the Komets in 2007-08 when he was the International Hockey League's Goaltender of the Year, and in 2010-11 before he retired. He spent the last two years in Sterzing, Italy, as an assistant coach and as a goaltending consultant to the Italian national team.

``We are in the process of revamping the USA Hockey Goaltending website, and I've been working with a committee to develop some new drills for different age groups,'' Reiter said. ``All in all, it's been a new and exciting challenge thus far. It's a bit different than anything I've done in the past, but I'm learning more and more everyday. ''

He and his wife, Tricia, welcomed daughter Alessia Jane eight months ago.

Fueling rumors

Someone has trademarked the Fuel nickname and logos for a new Indianapolis hockey team, likely the long-rumored new ECHL franchise. The team will play at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum where renovations will be completed in July. The ECHL has declined to comment other than saying it will involve local ownership.

The last time professional hockey played in Indianapolis was in 2004 before the Central Hockey League team folded. The Indianapolis Ice were rivals of the Komets from 1988 to 1999 when both teams left the International Hockey League. The United States Hockey League Indiana Ice played at the fairgrounds from 2004 until the coliseum was closed for renovations in 2012.

Could be a close shave

So far, the Komets' attempts to raise money for men's health issues by growing mustaches for Movember has struggled. Still, the guys are doing a really good job of growing mustaches, as shown by some of the mug shots accompanying this story. Fans can donate by going to http://us.movember.com and searching for Fort Wayne Komets.

Up for sale

The defending ECHL champion Reading Royals are for sale. The Royals are owned by the Berks County Convention Center Authority and SMG, which would prefer to find private local ownership. The BCCCA bought 50 percent of the team in 2011 to keep it going, and the team averaged just over 4,000 fans last season.

No. 2 and climbing

With a 91.5 success rate, the Komets' penalty kill ranks second in the ECHL behind Orlando's 92.3. They have allowed only four power-play goals in 47 chances, and to give that some perspective, they have scored three short-handed goals.

The Komets have not allowed a power-play goal in their last four games, and part of that is because of their discipline. After an early-season parade to the penalty box, the Komets have also gone four games without giving up more than two power-play chances in a game. The Komets have allowed only one power-play goal at home in 21 chances.

Fort Wayne has had seven more power-play chances than its opponents, a trend that hasn't happened in more than five years.

Komets coach Gary Graham thinks it's possible the penalty-killing units could get even better as he incorporates new centers Kenton Miller and Phil Mangan more into the lineup. That will allow some forwards to rest more.

Individual rankings

Mickey Lang is tied for fifth among ECHL scoring leaders with 15 points, and Brandon Marino is tied for ninth with 14 points. Lang leads the league with four power-play goals. Scott Fleming is tied for fifth among rookies with 11 points, and Jace Coyle is fourth among defensemen with 10 points.

Marino has scored at least one point in eight consecutive games and needs one more game to tie the ECHL season high of nine by Alaska's Peter Sivak. Bobby Hughes has scored a goal in three straight games, and Lang has scored six points in his last three games.

Icing the puck

The Komets released forward John Dunbar after practice Tuesday. He had scored one goal and three points in nine games. ... Former Komet Leo Thomas has gotten off to a good start with Mississippi of the Southern Professional Hockey League. Thomas has seven goals and 10 points in his first eight games. ... Another former Komet, Dan McWhinney, leads all SPHL goaltenders with a 1.81 goals against average and .947 save percentage. ... Since the season started Oct. 16, the Komets have added six players to the roster. Last year at this time they had added four. ... The Komets have scored first in 10 of their 11 games.