FORT WAYNE – Any doubts about Brandon Marinos ability to adjust to the ECHLs style of play have been erased.
He has 11 goals and 43 points in 37 games with the Komets. Thats a similar pace to last season, when he had 41 goals and 90 points in 65 games for Quad City of the CHL, in which he was selected as the leagues MVP.
I think hes the best offseason acquisition we made, Fort Wayne coach Al Sims said. You cant say enough about a guy his size putting up the points he has in this league, especially in a season in which the American Hockey League has really pushed a lot of guys down here (because of the NHL lockout), especially defensemen.
(Marino) did it in the Central Hockey League and he hasnt missed a beat. Hes one of the few guys who hasnt missed a beat and looks the same.
Marino, 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, has only scored one goal in the last nine games. That caused him to quip, I think I need to learn how to shoot again.
But hes also had less help because of the injuries to Colin Chaulk (foot), Thomas Beauregard (upper body) and Luca Caputi (shoulder), and the call-ups of Corey Elkins, Josh Brittain and Ryan Lasch to Norfolk.
Heading into Thursday night, Marino ranked third in the league in points – first among active players – yet he wasnt picked to be an all-star because, at 26, hes considered too old to be fit for a game showcasing the leagues top prospects for NHL scouts. (Daniel Maggio is the Komets all-star.)
Marino had never played in the ECHL before this season, but he hasnt changed anything to adjust after three seasons with Quad City in the IHL and CHL.
Ive tried to do things the same way, he said. I dont think you should try and play to the league you are playing in, as opposed to preparing every night the same way and coming in the same way every summer.
While Marino has garnered 34 penalty minutes, showing a penchant for hitting players bigger than him, hes also plus-8 and one of the Komets better defensive forwards.
Hes tenacious. He is tenacious on defense, said Sims, whose team will play the Cyclones three times this weekend.
Hes hacking, whacking. He takes some penalties because of his intensity, but hes definitely a two-way guy here.
Notes: Defenseman Daniel Maggio, who has four goals and 15 points in 36 games, was called up by Bridgeport of the American Hockey League. Nick Schaus was called up to Norfolk. Meanwhile, the Komets have called up Nick Wheeler from Dayton of the Federal Hockey League. After Daytons coach tweeted that Peter Cintala had been called up, too, there has been no move by the Komets. Ron Cramer and John Dunbars move from Pensacola of the Southern Professional Hockey League to Fort Wayne has also been halted for the time being.