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Tailing the Komets: Observations on Game 2

Tyson Fawcett scores on a breakaway for Fort Wayne's second goal. (By Blake Sebring of News-Sentinel.com)

Tonight’s Fort Wayne Komets game will tell everyone a lot about this team.

After easily defeating the Kansas City Mavericks 8-2 before 7,140 Memorial Coliseum fans on Friday night, will the Komets come out flat and skate down to the level of their opponents? Will they have less than an optimal effort, figuring Kansas City is over-matched? Or will the Komets come out with the same focus and attention to detail they had last night?

Sometimes over the past few years, just when you expect them to roll over their opponents they come out flat and stay that way. Usually, they’ve won by the end of the night, especially at home, but it was a struggle.

This will be interesting to see.

“It’s hard in this league to beat the same team in back-to-back nights,” Komets coach Gary Graham said. “It doesn’t matter whether you are at home or on the road. There will be a lot of adjustments for tomorrow night… That’s going to be a very focused and prepared team tomorrow night on the other side of the ice.

“You can say these things as a coach, but it’s up to the players in the locker room and the group, and from what I’ve seen I don’t expect that to happen or for our leadership core to let that happen… Tomorrow night’s game will probably have a whole different feel.”

The Mavericks did a poor job of challenging the Komets at center ice, usually allowing them to easily enter the offensive zone. They were also slow on defense and never seemed to get to a lose puck. They never stood up the Komets at the red line or the blue line or anywhere, and basically let up as soon as it was 4-0 and after Cody Sol beat up Troy Donnay.

Unless they’ve been hit by a wave of the flu, always possible when the main transportation is by bus, the Mavericks will surely have a better effort tonight.

“You have to erase this from your memory and expect them to come out with a lot of fight,” center Justin Hodgman said. “They just had an off-night tonight and we expect them to come back a lot harder tomorrow.”

Crunk getting extra ice

One thing Graham has been experimenting with is using forward Taylor Crunk on the penalty kill with Tyson Fawcett. In the past, Crunk has only been used as an extra forward for three or four shifts per period.

“I trust him a lot,” Graham said. “The thing is I want to get him some minutes and I want to keep playing him in some more situations. He’s deserving of the ice time. He’s working extremely hard.”

Icing the puck

When the Komets were on the power play, they were killing Kansas City with the forward on the wall passing across ice to the far point. The Mavericks never caught up with the play and their scrambling opened up several offensive chances… Kansas City goaltender Tyler Parsons, who just turned 20 last month, didn’t deserve half the eight goals. His defense was extremely slow and rarely cleared any rebounds… Fort Wayne forwards constantly got keep on the Mavericks’ defense and frequently had two skaters in Parson’s face… At times last year, the defensive pair of Cody Sol and Jason Binkley looked uncomfortable playing together, but so far they’ve looked like vets who have played together for years. They were both plus-3 last night… How’s this for balance: eight of the Komets’ 10 forwards had at least one point, and no one had more than four shots on goal. Four of the six defensemen had at least one point. Seven different players scored goals… How about the way the Komets were blocking shots all the way to the end of the game?

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