Inside the Zone January 20

Inside the Zone for January 20

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Komets will hit the road for week 15 and skate three games in three nights at Elmira beginning Friday at 7:05pm.  The Komets enter an extended road tour covering four games over the next two weeks while the circus is in town for their annual visit at the Memorial Coliseum this week.

Friday’s visit to Elmira will be the second and final trip of the season to First Arena (3,784).  The Komets skated a pair of games Dec. 6 and 8 and earned a point on the trip (0-1-1).  This Friday’s tilt will be followed with games Saturday night at 7:05 and Sunday at 4:05pm.

The Komets will complete their season series against the Jackals when Elmira visits for the Komets next home game Friday, Jan. 31 at 8pm.  The game will complete the season series against Elmira and finish a stretch of five out of six games against the Jackals.

About last week— The Komets dropped both games of the abbreviated week, beginning Wednesday when the Komets had their seven-game point streak snapped in a 3-1 setback at Kalamazoo.  Mike Embach (LW) scored the lone Fort Wayne goal while goaltender Max Strang suffered the loss in his first Fort Wayne career start making 17 saves.  The game completed a stretch of four out of five games against Kalamazoo.

Friday the Komets fell 5-3 to the visiting Elmira Jackals, stopping their home point streak at four games.  Kaleigh Schrock (RW) opened the scoring for the Komets with his third tally of the season.  Sy Nutkevitch (C) scored his first Fort Wayne career goal, a short-handed marker, and Matt Carter (LW) netted his first Komet career goal.  Ben Meisner (G) had his unbeaten streak snapped at three games, stopping 26 of 30 shots in his sixth Fort Wayne appearance.  The Komets were 4/5 on the penalty kill, snapping a successful penalty kill streak at 15, and finished the week with an ECHL second-best overall penalty kill rating of 87.9%.

The Komets out-shot their opponents for the week 66-51 to rank second in the ECHL with an average of 33.9 shots per game.  Fort Wayne remains in fourth place in the North Division with 38 points (15-13-8) after 36 games, trailing first-place Cincinnati by 10 points.

Streaking Komet— Nutkevitch had points in each game of the week to extend his point-streak to three games (1g, 2a).

Komet leaders— Brandon Marino (RW) leads the league with 43 points and is tied at the top with 27 assists…..Chris Auger (C) leads the Komets and ranks third in the ECHL (T) with 17 goals…..Scott Fleming (C) ranks second among league rookies with 31 points and leads with 21 assists while leading the Komets with +9…..Schrock leads with 94 penalty minutes.

Shafranov returns to Komets— Former Komet great Konstantin Shafranov is returning to the Komets as a specialty coach and will work alongside head coach Gary Graham.  Shafranov began his lengthy pro career in 1991 with Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk of the Russian elite league when he posted 24 goals and 45 points in 40 games at the age of 23.  Shafranov was the leading scorer for Torpedo the following two seasons.  Following a successful stint in his native land Shafranov made his first appearance with the Komets in 1995-96 leading the Komets with 46 goals and earning the IHL’s Rookie of the Year Award.  Shafranov was subsequently selected by St. Louis in round 9 of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft.  The Kazakhstan native appeared in parts of six seasons with the Komets overall during his career, finishing in 2009-10 when he posted 19 goals and 57 points in 58 games.  Shafranov completed his career with his native Kazakhstan team in the 2010 World Championships.

Shafranov will assist Coach Graham at practices and will mainly work with the forwards.  Shafranov will not assist Graham on the bench during games but will observe Komet games as time permits.  “Konstantin Shafranov is one of the most accomplished Komets of all time,” said Komet general manager David Franke.  “He has played at every level of hockey in North America and in the top Russian league KHL, Olympics and World Championship games.  His knowledge of the game, experience and skill set will be invaluable to our players.”

Shafranov will be introduced to the team Tuesday at practice at Canlan Ice Arena.

Marino Fantasy Team jersey up for bid— Fans have a chance to own a one-of-a-kind, game-worn jersey by logging on to ECHL.com or MeiGray.com and placing a bid for the ECHL fantasy Team jersey worn by Brandon Marino during the Komets last home game Jan. 17.  Bidding is underway and runs through Feb. 10 at ECHL.com and MeiGray.com.

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