Captains typically are not in the position that Kaleigh Schrock has found himself in this season.
Instead of mixing it up on the first few lines with plenty of ice time, the Fort Wayne native has played predominantly on the third line as a ninth or 10th forward.
But a big part of the reason Schrock has that 'C' on his sweater is the approach he takes to his playing time for the Komets.
He doesn't worry about it.
“Nobody believes in me more than I do,” said Schrock following Fort Wayne's 3-1 victory Friday night to take a 3-1 series lead over Reading. “I'm confident. I want to be out there more than I'm out there. With that said, I have to do my job and try to be an energy guy when I am out there and make the other guys see that.”
Schrock averaged over 19 goals a game during his first four seasons with the Komets, but had just five prior to Friday's game.
His goal just over four minutes into the game helped Fort Wayne immeasurably as Reading controlled the pace in the first period and could have set the tone for the game if it had emerged out of the first 20 minutes with the lead.
Instead, the game was tied at one entering the first intermission.
“Whenever he gets on the ice, no matter what time it is, he gives us that spark,” said Komets coach Gary Graham about Schrock. “It has been as tight as its been against Reading. The first goal is pretty important for both teams.
“To have Schrocky get that goal for us was very suiting.”
It would be easy to cause internal strife in regards to lack of playing time, but the 29-year-old Schrock is above that.
“It was nice to get the goal, but I know what my role is,” Schrock said. “I'm going to be the best at it and if I can do that I am going to help this team win.”
On the cusp of history
Fort Wayne is a victory away from making ECHL history as the first No. 8 seed to defeat a No. 1 in a best-of-seven series in the league's history.
Three times in ECHL history an eight seed has knocked off the top team, but all were in different formats. A pair came in best-of-five formats, with Greenville defeating No. 1 Pensacola 3-1 in 2005 and Augusta defeating Florida 3-2 in 2000. Interestingly, Augusta was the No. 10 seed that season and advanced to the quarterfinals by winning the Wild Card round.
In 1998, eighth-seeded Hampton Roads defeated No. 1 Peoria in a three-game sweep in a best-of-five format.
The league had a different playoff format in 1995, but Wheeling was the No. 1 team in the regular season and lost to Birmingham 3-0 in a best-of-five first round, which had the fewest points of any playoff team.
Similarly, Knoxville lost to Louisville in 1994 in a best-of-three series in a matchup between the teams with the most and fewest points in the regular season.
Got all that?
On the cusp of history, part 2
The history of the ECHL has never seen a conference quarterfinal playoff in which all four lower seeds have beaten the higher seed.
The closest it came to coming to fruition was in 2010, when three of the four lower seeds advanced out of the quarterfinals.
The ECHL Eastern Conference is inching closer to seeing it happen. Entering Saturday, No. 8 seed Fort Wayne is up on top-seeded Reading 3-1, fifth-seeded Cincinnati is up on No. 4 Orlando 3-1, No. 2 seed Kalamazoo and seventh-seeded Greenville are tied at two in their series and No. 6 seed Wheeling has already swept third-seeded South Carolina 4-0.
Sunday's Game 5 between Fort Wayne and Reading will begin at 6 p.m., instead of the traditional Sunday time of 5 p.m.
Icing the puck
In franchise history, the Komets are 21-0 in best-of-seven playoff series when leading 3-1 … Komets fans groaned about a lack of a too many men on the ice penalty on Reading early Friday night. Remember, it is only a penalty if the team with too many men on the ice has control of the puck … The Komets have won seven of their last eight games at home. Prior to this streak, the team was 10-10-9 at Memorial Coliseum … Reading defenseman Nick Bruneteau is the younger brother of Matt Bruneteau, the defenseman who saw action in four games for Fort Wayne earlier this season.