Trevor Cheek ready for extended play with Komets

Forward Trevor Cheek is ready to start his season with the Komets after being sent down by Tucson earlier this week. (News-Sentinel photo by Blake Sebring)

Though he was playing in the American Hockey League with Tucson this season, Trevor Cheek still kept in touch with Fort Wayne.

“We have a little group chat going on so I’m with it on what’s going on here,” Cheek said. “I still had some very good friends playing here so I was always keeping tabs on how they are doing.”

And now he’s back with the Komets, making his first start tonight in a critical game in Cincinnati. Cheek played 16 games with the Roadrunners during the first half, scoring two goals and seven points. Those are career-best numbers for him in the AHL where he’s played in parts of five seasons. He’s hoping that can help him the rest of this year and into next season as well.

“(Getting sent down) it’s not exactly what you want for your career, but there’s no better place to come down to, that’s for sure,” Cheek said. “I’m familiar with it and knowing all the guys helps a lot.”

He played in Tucson last Saturday and said he’s ready to play major minutes for the Komets.

“I played a decent amount down there, about half the games so kind of in and out, and when I was in, I played a decent amount of minutes,” he said. “I’m excited to get a little more playing time and just help the guys keep winning here.”

Cheek, 25, has always been a productive ECHL player, scoring 36 goals and 59 points in during 63 games over the past two seasons with the Komets. He can also play both left wing and center.

So why have the Komets struggled so much with Cincinnati this season? The Cyclones are 4-0 against Fort Wayne this season.

Cyclones goaltender Anthony Peters is the simple answer. He’s 3-0 against Fort Wayne this season with a 1.99 goals against average and .929 save percentage. Conversely, Michael Houser is 0-2-1 against Cincinnati with a 3.32 goals against average and .874 save percentage in four games against Cincinnati.

The Komets also try to win every game against Cincinnati by a 5-4 score, and that’s not going to happen against Peters. The Komets need to be more disciplined as far as penalties and team defense. The Cyclones have scored five power-play goals against Fort Wayne, and some of the best Komets have been horrible defensively against the Cyclones. Jamie Schaafsma is minus-5, Shawn Szydlowski and Ryan Culkin are minus-4 and Garrett Thompson and Dan Maggio are minus-3. That’s an awful lot of minuses considering those five Cincinnati power-play goals.

Cincinnati’s top line of Jesse Schultz, Shawn O’Donnell and Justin Danforth has also torched Fort Wayne for a combined six goals and 21 points in four games. The Cyclones have scored 15 goals compared to nine for the Komets during the four games.

The Cyclones are three points behind the Komets for third place in the ECHL’s Central Division. Cincinnati has also played one fewer game than Fort Wayne.