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at Rapid City
When: 8 p.m. today, Saturday
Radio: Both games on 1190 AM
Swikar Patel | The Journal Gazette
Komets defenseman Frankie DeAngelis was an all-star last season and has become an anchor on the blue line.

Experience key for defender DeAngelis

It’s a little weird for Frankie DeAngelis to feel like a veteran.

He is, after all, only 26.

But after two years with the Komets, getting selected as the team’s lone all-star last season, surviving the summer purge of veterans and seeing Guy Dupuis retire, he’s become the anchor of the blue line for the Komets.

“It is a little weird having the rookies come up to me, asking me questions,” DeAngelis said. “But I accept it, and I love it. It’s great to be a guy who’s been here, been through the ropes and can be helping the young guys out.”

DeAngelis has two goals and four points this season for the Komets (3-3-0), including a goal in Tuesday’s 8-2 victory at Dayton.

The Komets play back-to-back games at Rapid City, S.D., today and Saturday.

The Rush (5-1-1) eliminated the Komets in a five-game Turner Conference Semifinals series last spring, but Rapid City lost 3-2 at Fort Wayne on Nov. 4.

Despite his all-star status, DeAngelis, an American International University product, is still trying to hone his game.

“There are always areas to improve in, I think,” said DeAngelis, a native of Woodbridge, Ontario. “I’m just wanting to get shots through traffic, I’ve been working on that. Defensive-zone systems, I’ve been working on, just like the new guys. I’ve got a new defensive partner, and we’ve all got to jell.”

Coach Al Sims said DeAngelis, like the entire team, is still a work in progress. DeAngelis and Jamie Milam (two goals, five points this season) are the blue-liners expected to help kick-start the offense.

“It’s early in the season yet, but Frankie is a guy who really runs on confidence,” Sims said. “Once he starts getting points, they seem to multiply for him. He’s just got to work on getting his shot through, getting it to the net, moving his feet and being reliable defensively.”

DeAngelis has 23 goals, 102 points and a plus-51 rating in 153 games with the Komets in the regular season and playoffs, combined.

His success earned him a tryout with Worcester of the higher-level American Hockey League before this season.

“They just said they were keeping an eye on me,” said DeAngelis, 5-foot-10, 185 pounds. “They liked what I did, liked the way I played. It was just a numbers game up there, really. They had their team pretty much set, but I wanted to go up there and see how I’d play against those guys.”