FORT WAYNE – The Komets have played only seven games, but the weight of their struggles is already being felt.
I believe in these guys, but at the end of the day, we’re here to win, coach Gary Graham said. These guys need to realize that sooner rather than later.
Coming off Wednesday’s 6-3 loss at Evansville, in which the IceMen scored five unanswered goals, the Komets’ record dropped to 2-3-2.
The disturbing thing about the Komets’ five losses – two of which came in overtime shootouts – is that they held a lead in all of them.
The word that Graham keeps using in practices is consistency, something the Komets have lacked thus far.
It’s a combination of things, he said. Once we do something good, like kill off a 5-on-3 (power play Wednesday), we make a mistake that hurts us.
Tonight, the Komets play host to the Wheeling Nailers (2-3-1) at Memorial Coliseum. And on Saturday, the Komets play at Cincinnati (6-0-0).
The Komets have had scoring from a variety of sources – Mickey Lang leads with six goals and nine points, followed by Brandon Marino (four goals, eight points) and Scott Fleming (two goals, eight points) – but they have been dogged by some mistakes.
Bad penalties, for one, such as Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock’s major for boarding in the third period Wednesday when the Komets trailed by one goal.
Suspect goaltending has been another; Cody Reichard (0-2-1) has a 3.94 goals-against average and .874 save percentage and has been supplanted by Andrey Makarov (2-1-0), who has a 1.34 GAA and a .957 save percentage.
And the Komets’ technique on faceoffs has become a point of emphasis, too, so that if the center doesn’t win the draw it doesn’t immediately lead to a scoring opportunity.
Faceoffs are something we talk about all the time, Graham said. It’s something we’re very aware of.
When other teams execute plays off faceoffs, it’s a combination of things not happening (for us). It’s not just the center. It’s a team statistic.
After missing the playoffs last season, if the Komets don’t start executing better soon, the patience of Graham and general manager David Franke may start wearing thin.