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Komets

  • Goalie stays focused without much action
      Goaltender Ben Meisner stopped 20 of 21 shots as the Komets shocked the defending champion Reading Royals with a 2-1 victory in the opening game of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Thursday night.
  • Ks win battle royal
      The Reading Royals may dispute the legality of the game-winning play. But there was no disputing what put the Komets in position to defeat the ECHL’s defending champions Thursday night.
  • Ks goalie excited by 1st shot at playoffs
      The Komets have used nine goaltenders this season – a franchise record for the 62-year-old team – and Ben Meisner is the one left standing between the pipes.
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Komets
Training camp roster
Forwards
Brandon Marino*
Eric Giosa
Stephon Thorne
Brett Smith
Chris Auger*
Jean-Michel Rizk*
Jean-Phillip Chabot
Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock
Colin Chaulk
Matt Firman
Brayden Metz
Mike Hoban
Cory Park
John Dunbar
Matt Atsoff
Seth Ronsberg
Linus Werneman
Defensemen
Daniel Maggio*
Tyler Butler
Brent Henley*
Scott Kishel
Kyle Atkins
Chris Haltigin
Tim Buttery
Daniel Nycholat
Nicolas Thommen
Goaltenders
Charlie Effinger*
Kenny Reiter*
Francois Lacerte
Jeff Rose
Larkin Saalfrank
* Starting in AHL camps
Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Brett Smith and the Komets open training camp Saturday. It’s the team’s first in the ECHL.

Top 5 issues as Komets hit camp

– The Komets open their 61st training camp in team history Saturday. It’s also the first in the ECHL for a team that has won three IHL titles and a CHL title in the last five years.

Here’s a look at five issues the team will need to deal with and how it could play out:

Goaltending nervousness

Nick Boucher, who won those four Cups and was the team’s MVP last season, had two offseason hip surgeries and is out until January. And he’s not even signed. The Komets found replacements with Charlie Effinger, formerly with Missouri of the CHL, and Kenny Reiter, who led Minnesota-Duluth to an NCAA championship in 2011.

But Effinger will be in training camp with Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League and Reiter with Bridgeport of the AHL. Both will likely be sent to Fort Wayne, but there has to be a tinge of nervousness that they won’t arrive quickly.

So who do the Komets have in their place? There’s Jeff Rose, who played for three teams in the Single-A Southern Professional Hockey League last season with a 6-8-2 record. There’s Francois Lacerte, who had a 23-27-10 record and a .891 save percentage in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. There’s Larkin Saalfrank, a native of Fort Wayne who served as an emergency goalie last season, and there’s an unnamed goalie that general manager David Franke said is en route.

If Lacerte can’t hack it, the Komets had better hope someone comes from the AHL – soon.

No Frankie D. on D

The Komets had hoped that Frankie DeAngelis, who was on the all-CHL team last season, would forego retirement and return. Instead, he retired Sept. 7 to take a job in the insurance industry. That cost the Komets a pivotal player.

Even though the Komets haven’t added another scoring defenseman this month – unless rookie Scott Kishel wows – things may not be so problematic.

Tyler Butler had 20 goals and 85 points over the last two seasons, while captaining Arizona of the CHL. And Daniel Maggio showed in his limited time with the Komets during the playoffs – he had two goals and five points in 15 games – that he could be a top defenseman.

Plus, the Komets are expecting that their affiliation with Anaheim of the NHL will provide defensemen.

Chemistry on offense

The Komets lost a lot of offense – Bobby Chaumont, Playoff MVP Mike Vaskivuo, Leo Thomas – but they added even more with CHL MVP Brandon Marino, Eric Giosa and Jean-Philipp Chabot.

But the Komets aren’t going to have much time to jell up front, especially with Marino, Chris Auger and Jean-Michel Rizk starting off in AHL camps.

Expect some growing pains early.

Toughness discussion

In one sense, the Komets have plenty of toughness with Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock, Brent Henley, Stephon Thorne and Butler. However, they did let David Starenky go in free agency.

Not to worry, as a tough guy may come down from the AHL and some of the kids coming from college and juniors will try to stick by using their fists.

Pressure is on Sims

A difference between the ECHL and the CHL is that the players will be younger and require more teaching. Of the 31 players on the Komets’ roster, 19 are first- or second-year players. Coach Al Sims had better develop them.

jcohn@jg.net

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