FORT WAYNE – For more than five weeks, Komets center Leo Thomas sat and watched his teammates turn around their season.
With that came joy.
But he wasn’t a part of it, and with that came frustration.
Now Thomas is back after missing 15 games with a sprained ankle. He played in Wednesday’s 7-1 victory over the Bloomington PrairieThunder.
It’s amazing, said Thomas, who was scoreless against Bloomington but fought Jason Deleurme. I’ve got to get the lungs back a little bit, but it’s great to be back. It’s hard sitting out for that long, watching your teammates. It was great to see them win and play well, but you want to be out there, helping them out.
Before Thomas’ injury, he was one of the few players consistently helping the Komets’ cause. He led them in scoring with 11 goals and 20 points in 26 games, but Fort Wayne was in the 18-team CHL cellar with an 8-15-3 record.
Since then, the Komets are 11-3-2, and they’ve won six in a row heading into tonight’s game against the visiting Quad City Mallards (25-19-1).
Fort Wayne is in 13th place overall, eighth in the Turner Conference, from which eight teams will make the playoffs.
Additions were made to the Fort Wayne lineup while Thomas was on the shelf – Colin Chaulk, Danny Lapointe, Jon Mirasty and Dustin Molle – and some others have picked up their scoring pace. None more than left wing Tab Lardner, who has 14 goals and 21 points in the 16 games since Thomas went down.
It’s good that guys have been stepping up, Thomas said. Lardner is on fire right now, and guys who weren’t before are scoring right now. I guess it does take a little pressure off me, but I want to get back on pace.
But with three games in as many nights this weekend, Thomas hopes to begin assisting the Komets.
We’re playing a lot harder and obviously we’re scoring goals, too, Thomas said. The offense kicked in, so that’s a huge plus for us.