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Komets notes: Fans fell asleep on opening night

Also, Houser is great against Toledo, KKP is coming and playing tag

Komets forward Mason Baptista aims during a recent team trip to Combat Ops. (courtesy photo)

After Tyson Fawcett scored his third goal of the game at 13:19 of the third period Saturday night, everyone celebrated but everyone also forgot to throw any hats onto the ice to fete his hat trick. Was nobody wearing a hat? Were they too stunned by the flukey goal? Were they afraid of not getting them back? Were they simply out of practice?

C’mon, Komets fans you are better than that!

And by the way, fans who throw their hats onto the ice can pick them up outside the Komets’ locker room at the end of the game or period. They are stacked onto one of the garbage cans to the right of the entrance.

Been such a long time

With Justin Hodgman returning to the Komets for the first time in seven seasons, you might think that’s the longest time between a player coming back to the Komets. It’s close, but there are actually three players who appeared in Komets games eight seasons apart. Can you name them? The answer is a few paragraphs below.

Hodgman is one of a group that includes Konstantin Shafranov, Steve Fletcher and Paris Duffus who waited seven seasons between Fort Wayne appearances. Fletcher first played for the Komets in 1982-83, came back in 1990-91, left in 1995-96 and came back for one game in 2002-03.

What’s unique about this year is that defenseman Daniel Maggio also made his first Fort Wayne appearance after four seasons away on Saturday night. This continues a long Fort Wayne tradition of players since 1990 who left the Komets for significant amounts of time yet came back later. Those players also include Colin Chaulk, Pokey Reddick, P.C. Drouin, Brent Henley, Kevin Reiter, Matt Syroczynski, Kevin Bertram, Matt Curadeau, Shafranov and Leo Thomas. Since 1990, about 40 have left the team to play elsewhere for a while and then return. Some — such as Dupuis, Steve Fletcher, Robbie Irons, Rob Laird, Terry Pembroke, Lionel Repka and Chaulk — have left and come back and then seen their numbers retired to the rafters.

Here are three players who had the longest tenures away from the Komets: After he left Fort Wayne following the 1965-66 season, Bobby Rivard played eight seasons in the American Hockey League (and 27 games in the NHL) before coming back to the Komets for 24 games in 1974-75. Peter Sidorkiewicz first came to the Komets in 1984-85 as a Washington Capitals prospect, and came back to the Komets in 1993-94 as New Jersey Devils back-up. Center Rob Tudor was a rookie in 1976-77 and came back at the end of his career in 1985-86.

Longest time between Komets appearances

Bobby Rivard, 8 seasons

Peter Sidorkniewicz, 8 seasons

Rob Tudor, 8 seasons

Justin Hodgman, 7 seasons

Konstantin Shafranov, 7 seasons

Steve Fletcher, 7 seasons

Parris Duffus, 7 seasons

Guy Dupuis, 6 seasons

Chick Balon, 6 seasons

Steve Fletcher 6 seasons

Stephan Brochu, 6 seasons

Ed Campbell, 6 seasons

Tom Nemeth, 6 seasons

Chick Balon, 6 seasons

Kelly Hurd, 5 seasons

Robin Bawa, 5 seasons

Mike Boland, 5 seasons

Bob Essensa, 5 seasons

Pokey Reddick, 5 seasons (twice)

A pleasant surprise

You might not have known this one, but you can bet Komets management did. There were two great reasons they were so excited to add goaltender Michael Houser to the roster: 1. He was always great against the Komets; 2. He has always been even better against Toledo.

Houser is now 11-3-0 during his career against the Walleye with a 2.29 goals against average and a .926 save percentage. He has actually won his last eight decisions against the Walleye. While playing against the Komets over the last few years he was 6-3-0 with a 2.11 goals against average and .930 save percentage.

Rockabye Baby

Speaking of sleeping, maybe the newest and youngest Komets fan got through the game with no problems on Saturday. Despite being part of more than 10,000 fans, Cooper Robert Boudreau slept through most of the game in his mother Karla’s lap (thanks in part to noise-reducing headphones). The son of Komets assistant coach Ben Boudreau and the grandson of former Komets player and coach Bruce Boudreau was born Oct. 3. He weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces.

Tag, you’re it

It used to be that the Komets would hold team camaraderie exercises like any other pro team — at the local watering hole or bowling alley. This year’s team has had some fun playing Laser Tag at Combat Ops, 702 Ley Rd. The team went last week and is already requesting a return trip for more fun.

“That’s the boys’ favorite thing they’ve done this year,” Komets coach Gary Graham said. “For team bonding, they just loved it.”

Sounds like a fun “work” environment. “Sorry, honey, captain called a mandatory meeting, and I can’t get out of it.”

Time to plan ahead

Komets Kare Package is returning for its 10th year at Nov. 3 and 4 home games. Sponsored by The News-Sentinel, the Komets, WANE and Federal Express, the program asks fans to donate supplies for the Northern Indiana Veterans Administration Health System which serves more than 45,000 veterans throughout the region.

This year, along with the usual items such as gloves, hats, magazines, CDs, DVDs, puzzle books, personal toiletries, hygiene products, blankets and cleaning supplies, we’re asking Komets fans to consider donating food which can be used to help the VA start a local pantry system.

The list of food items being asked for include canned items spaghetti sauce, pasta, pork and beans, chili or stew, fruit, tuna, salmon or chicken and mixed vegetables and packaged products such as tuna, chicken or hamburger helper, pudding packs, peanut butter and jelly, cereals, oatmeal, boxed potato dishes, rice and pasta side dishes, macaroni and cheese and breakfast bars. The VA is unable to store fresh or frozen food and would prefer not to deal with liquids.

Icing the puck

Michael Houser could play his 100th ECHL game tonight or tomorrow … IF he doesn’t start tonight, Garrett Bartus will on his 28th birthday … Toledo didn’t have captain Alden Hirschfeld in the lineup on Saturday night, but the Walleye actually have four alternate captains this season: Shane Berschbach, A.J. Jenks, Kyle Bonis and Simon Denis … While the Komets got more mobile on defense, the Walleye got bigger, averaging 6-foot-1, 197.4 pounds. The late addition of Dan Maggio helped the Komets blueliners measure out at 6-1, 202.4 pounds … The Komets’ opening roster is also about a year younger than last year at this time, with an average age of 25.35 … For the first time in about the last 10 years of Komets games, defenseman Jason Binkley thew a hipcheck against Toledo defenseman Ryan Obuchowski during the first period Saturday night. Why don’t we see more of them? Referees mistakenly usually call them tripping penalties because they’ve never seen one before.

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