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The Journal Gazette

Friday, October 12, 2018 1:00 am

Team profiles

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Jason Binkley

Position: Defense

Age: 26

Height: 5-foot-10

Weight: 195 pounds

Notes: Entering his third season with the Komets, Binkley will be relied upon to add even more offense from the back end, though he led team defensemen in assists the last two seasons. ... Won Komets' Unsung Hero award last season. ... A native of Powell, Ohio, he totaled seven goals and 34 points in 70 games last season. Also had 10 points in 18 playoff games. ... Has accrued 14 goals and 78 points in 137 regular-season games and has four goals with 13 points in 28 playoff games for Fort Wayne. ... Has also played in ECHL for Cincinnati, Utah and South Carolina. ... Played in college for Ferris State from 2011 to 2015.

Taylor Crunk

Position: Left wing

Age: 23

Height: 6-0

Weight: 215

Notes: A native of San Jacinto, California, Crunk is beginning his fourth straight season with the Komets. ... Last season was cut short after only 28 games because of a hip injury that required surgery. He was off to his finest start with six assists and 64 penalty minutes, showing he could do more than just hit and fight. ... In his first two seasons with the Komets, Crunk totaled two goals, nine points and 128 penalty minutes in 50 games. ... His final season of juniors, 2015-16, he played for the Western Hockey League's Vancouver Giants and had six goals, 10 points and 61 penalty minutes in 46 games, and also totaled seven goals and 13 points and 22 penalty minutes in 16 games with the Spruce Grove Saints of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

Thomas Ebbing

Position: Center

Age: 23

Height: 5-11

Weight: 172

Notes: Born in Troy, Michigan. ... This will be his second season of professional hockey after a college career at Michigan State University, where he had three goals and 16 points in 35 games as a senior. ... Last season, he totaled one goal and five points in six games for the ECHL's Brampton Beast, skating for former Komets captain Colin Chaulk. ... He also played 45 games in the higher-level AHL for the Laval Rocket, amassing one goal and five points.

Zach Fucale

Position: Goaltender

Age: 23

Height: 6-2

Weight: 187

Notes: Assigned to the Komets by the NHL's Vegas Golden Knights. ... Was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in second round in 2013, while in midst of a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League career. In that league, he played mostly for Halifax, winning a Memorial Cup, but also for Quebec. ... Led Canada to gold at the 2015 World Junior Hockey Championships with a 1.20 GAA and .939 SP. ... Has bounced back and forth between the ECHL and American Hockey League. ... Last season, he spent 18 games with AHL's Laval Rocket, going 10-7-0 with a 3.26 GAA and a .890 SP. With Brampton of ECHL, he was 5-4-0 with a 2.83 GAA and a .913 SP. ... Signed with Vegas in July and also attended training camp with AHL's Chicago Wolves before arriving in Fort Wayne.

Kevin Gibson

Position: Defense

Age: 28

Height: 6-0

Weight: 185

Notes: Played last season for ECHL's Toledo Walleye, totaling three goals, 13 points and 58 penalty minutes in 54 games. ... Played for Quad City Mallards from 2015 to 2017. In his last season with the Mallards, totaled two goals, 30 points and 44 penalty minutes in 64 games. ... Played college hockey at Wisconsin Stevens Point from 2011 to 2015. ... Son of Kirk Gibson, a star player and manager in Major League Baseball. ... Grew up in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.

Lukas Hafner

Position: Goaltender

Age: 26

Height: 6-1

Weight: 205

Notes: A native of Toledo, Ohio, he played at Western Michigan University from 2012 to 2016. ... Made his professional debut with the ECHL's Alaska Aces in 2016, going 2-2-0 with a 2.96 GAA and a .897 SP. ... Was instrumental in Colorado's run to 2017 Kelly Cup, going 14-2-0 with a 2.43 GAA and a .903 SP in the postseason, after he'd played five regular-season games with the Eagles and five with the Aces. ... Last season, he played 20 regular-season games with Colorado, going 13-4-1 with a 3.12 GAA and a .897 SP, and was the Eagles' backup en route to another championship, including an ouster of the Komets in a seven-game Western Conference finals series.

Kyle Hayton

Position: Goaltender

Age: 24

Height: 6-0

Weight: 160

Notes: A rookie out of the University of Wisconsin, where he was 9-12-3 with a 3.09 GAA last season. ... Played at St. Lawrence from 2014 to 2017 and was a nominee for the Hobey Baker Award. ... Finished his St. Lawrence career as the program leader in shutouts (15) and was second in victories (54). ... In 2016-17, went 16-12-7 with a 2.28 GAA and led conference with five shutouts. Was also ECAC Goaltender of the Year that season. ... Was conference's Rookie of the Year in 2014-15 and made conference's second team with a 1.95 GAA and a 20-13-3 record. ... Born in Denver.

Justin Hodgman

Position: Center

Age: 30

Height: 6-1

Weight: 196

Notes: Totaled nine goals and 25 points last season but was limited to only 30 games because of injuries. ... In the playoffs, a concussion knocked him out in first game. ... Played for the Komets late in his rookie season of 2008, when he scored triple-overtime Cup-winning goal against Port Huron, after Komets came back from 3-1 series deficit. He was named Playoff MVP at age 19 and returned to juniors. ... Returned to Komets in 2009 and 2010 and won Cups in IHL. ... Played five NHL games for Arizona Coyotes in 2014-15, scoring a goal. ... Played in Russia from 2012 to 2014 and also spent significant time in AHL and other overseas leagues before returning to Komets last season. ... Resides in Fort Wayne.

Jeff King

Age: 22

Position: Defense

Height: 5-10

Weight: 171

Notes: Spent 23 games last season with Brampton of the ECHL, totaling two goals and four points playing for former Komets captain Colin Chaulk. ... Also played 34 games with Orland and accrued three goals and nine points. ... Spent two games in AHL with Toronto. ... Was an accomplished two-way defenseman in Ontario Hockey League, totaling 14 goals and 56 points in 66 games his final season, 2016-17, with Sarnia. ... Born in St. Clair, Michigan, and will be expected to contribute on special teams for the Komets.

Alexander Kuqali

Age: 27

Position: Defense

Height: 6-2

Weight: 225

Notes: Komets were familiar with him because they faced him with the Quad City Mallards. He totaled five goals and 21 points in 55 games last season for the Mallards. ... Has also played in ECHL for Florida. ... Played in college for R.I.T from 2012 to 2016. ... Played junior hockey for USHL's Indiana Ice from 2009 to 2012. ... Born in Dallas. ... His brother, Nicholas, was in training camp with the K's but was released.

Garrett Ladd

Age: 29

Position: Forward

Height: 5-10

Weight: 176

Notes: Expected to fill the void of the many top-line forwards who departed for contracts overseas. ... Ladd totaled 21 goals and 46 points last season for the Tulsa Oilers. ... He also played eight games in the United Kingdom. ... In 2016-17, accrued 17 goals and 34 points in 58 games for Tulsa. ... Has also played in ECHL for Missouri, Elmira, Adirondack and Stockton. ... Played at Wisconsin Stevens Point from 2012 to 2015, totaling 10 goals and 27 points in 29 games his final season. ... Also played at Bemidji State. ... Hails from Fenton, Michigan.

Ryan Lowney

Age: 24

Position: Defense

Height: 5-8

Weight: 172

Notes: Entering his third season with the Komets and expected to take a bigger role as a two-way defenseman. ... Totaled seven goals and 26 points in 60 regular-season games, then added two goals and five points in 18 playoff games last season. ... Played at Ferris State from 2013 to 2017, then made professional debut with Fort Wayne and accrued one goal and six points in 14 games with Komets in 2016-17. ... In 2017 playoffs, played in eight games and had four assists. ... Born in Redford, Michigan. 

Phelix Martineau

Position: Right wing

Age: 21

Height: 5-11

Weight: 184 pounds

Notes: Born in Laval, Quebec. ... Assigned to Komets by Laval of AHL. ... Played first professional games last season with Komets, totaling two goals and three points in three regular-season games and four goals with eight points in 10 playoff games. ... Had just finished junior career with Cape Breton of QMJHL, accruing 34 goals and 66 points in 68 games in final season. ... Speedy with a knack for scoring, can also play center.

Kevin Miller

Age: 24

Position: Center

Height: 5-11

Weight: 189

Notes: Rookie out of Ohio State, where he totaled 24 goals and 40 points in 114 games between 2014 and 2018. ... Last season of juniors, totaled 21 goals and 54 points in 56 games for Fort McMurray Oil Barons of Alberta Junior Hockey League. Also had 10 goals and 17 points in 17 playoff games. ... Born in Stony Plain, Alberta.

Brandon Morley

Age: 24

Position: Forward

Height: 5-9

Weight: 162

Notes: Rookie out of Alaska-Fairbanks, he had two goals and 12 points in 34 games last season. ... Was captain of team last season. ... Named Male Scholar Athlete of Year and awarded Team Player of the Year. ... Named to the conference's All-Academic Team for second straight year. ... Prior to college career, played in British Columbia Hockey League, totaling 14 goals and 47 points in 49 games for Surrey in 2011-12.

Aidan Muir

Age: 23

Position: Left wing

Height: 6-4

Weight: 212

Notes: A rookie out of Western Michigan, where he totaled four goals and 12 points in 27 games last season. ... Had 14 goals and 46 points in 118 college games. ... Played junior hockey for the Indiana Ice in 2013-14, accruing 14 goals and 41 points in 54 games. ... Was drafted by the NHL's Edmonton Oilers in fourth round in 2013. ... Born in Brampton, Ontario.

Anthony Petruzzelli

Age: 25

Position: Forward

Height: 5-9

Weight: 181

Notes: As a rookie, he had a sterling debut last season, totaling three goals in first four regular-season games. ... In the playoffs, showed grit with two assists in 14 playoff games. ... That was his first action after four-year career at Vermont, where he had 21 goals and 43 points in 140 games and made Hockey East All-Academic Team. ... Recently inducted into Hall of Fame for junior team, Brooks of Alberta Junior Hockey Team, for which he totaled 27 goals and 53 points in 58 games his final season, 2013-14.

Garret Ross

Age: 26

Position: Left wing

Height: 6-0

Weight: 176

Notes: Has spent the entirety of his professional career, which dates back to 2012, in the higher-level AHL, but mostly as a checking-line forward. ... Last season, with Rochester, totaled seven goals, 13 points and 66 penalty minutes in 51 games. ... Will be expected to be a scorer for the Komets, much in the mold of Garrett Thompson. ... Was drafted by the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks in the fifth round of 2012 draft. ... Last year of juniors, 2012-13, he racked up 44 goals and 90 points in 61 games for Saginaw of Ontario Hockey League.

Marco Roy

Age: 23

Position: Center

Height: 6-1

Weight: 182

Notes: Back for a second season with the Komets, after he tallied 17 goals and 48 points in 45 regular-season games last season. ... He also played 13 games in the AHL with San Jose and Utica, totaling two goals. ... Despite injuries to both knees, gutted out two goals, 11 points and many a shot block in 14 playoff games for the Komets last spring. ... Was in training camp this fall with Laval of AHL. ... A second-round NHL draft pick of Edmonton Oilers in 2013, has spent considerable time in AHL. ... Roy is looking to take over more of a leadership role and take over more of a top-line role this season.

Jamie Schaafsma

Age: 35

Position: Center

Height: 6-2

Weight: 200

Notes: Komets' captain back for a fourth season. ... Won three championships with Allen Americans in 2013, 2014 and 2015 in CHL and ECHL, part of string of reaching playoff finals in seven straight seasons. ... Was part of Flint Generals squad that lost to Komets in IHL finals in 2010. ... Player/assistant coach. ... Totaled 12 goals and 27 points in 48 games last season, then added five goals and seven points in 18 playoff games. ... In North American hockey, has 146 goals and 344 points in 445 games.

Cody Sol

Age: 27

Position: Defense

Height: 6-6

Weight: 242

Notes: Coming off his best offensive season: eight goals and 29 points in 53 games, and one in which he had only 119 penalty minutes, he's no longer just an enforcer and is relied upon for a great plus/minus rating and to log big ice time. ... This will be his fifth season with the Komets. ... An alternate captain. ... Has one of the hardest shots in the ECHL. ... Tallied three goals, six points and 14 penalty minutes in 18 playoff games last season. ... Has played in all 56 playoff games since he joined the roster.

Chase Stewart

Age: 21

Position: Defense

Height: 6-3

Weight: 225

Notes: A rookie out of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, he brings the ability to score and a lot of toughness. ... Totaled five goals, 29 points and 132 penalty minutes in 53 games last season for Rimouski. ... Led the league in penalty minutes. ... Born in Marathon, Ontario.

Joseph Widmar

Age: 23

Position: Forward

Height: 6-0

Weight: 211

Notes: Spent 11 games last season with the Komets, totaling three assists. ... Also played nine games with Greenville and had three assists. ... Spent 36 games with Peoria of the lower-level SPHL and had 11 goals and 40 points. ... Played at Massachusetts-Amherst from 2015 to 2017, after finishing junior career with Des Moines of USHL.

Gary Graham

Coach

Regular-season record: 215-104-41

Playoff record: 38-29

Notes: Has taken the Komets to the playoffs in each of his five seasons as head coach, winning 7 of 12 playoff series and twice making it to the conference finals. ... Fourth all-time in franchise history in regular-season victories. ... A native of Fort Wayne. ... Led Pensacola to championship in Southern Professional Hockey League in 2012-13. ... Was an assistant coach with Komets in IHL and CHL from 2008 to 2012, helping Al Sims to three championships.

– Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette

jcohn@jg.net