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Komets

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Komets
at Muskegon
When: 7 p.m. today
Radio: 1190 AM
at Flint
When: 4 p.m. Sunday
Radio: 1380 AM
Clint Keller | The Journal Gazette
Mitch Woods, who helped the Komets capture the 2008 Turner Cup, is scheduled to rejoin the team next month.

K’s on notice with Woods coming back

Some of the Komets’ players should be on notice that their play had better improve.

On Tuesday, the Komets re-signed fan-favorite right wing Mitch Woods, who will join the team Jan. 11 and be back in the lineup about two weeks after that.

That gives each of the current Komets about a month to prove that he shouldn’t be the one losing his spot to make room for Woods, who helped Fort Wayne to the 2008 Turner Cup.

“I think a lot of guys, when they see others around the room and practicing, and they know those newcomers have a roster spot coming to them, it sends a message of urgency,” coach Al Sims said. “They want to show the coach that they still belong.”

The defending-champion Komets (14-9-1) have won two of their last three games heading into tonight’s game at Muskegon, Mich., but Sims still is hoping the offense will improve.

Fort Wayne ranks fifth in offense with 2.75 goals per game.

“Other than our last game, a (6-5 loss at Bloomington), our offense has been struggling,” Sims said. “And it has been for most of the year. I’d like to see it get better and us getting about three goals per game, at least. Then, if we keep the play of our (second-ranked) defense about where it is, we’ll be OK. Our special teams have been pretty good. It’s just the 5-on-5 situations that have been a bugaboo.”

Tonight’s game had been hyped as the game in which Fort Wayne’s Brad MacMillan and Muskegon’s Robin Big Snake would renew acquaintances. They last played in a brawl-filled Oct. 31 game at Memorial Coliseum. MacMillan was suspended 15 games by the IHL for leaving the penalty box to fight, being overly physical with a linesman along the way. Big Snake got 12 games for similar actions. Both mouthed off at one another.

But MacMillan must serve a one-game suspension today because of actions last weekend. During a fight with Bloomington’s Matthew Spiller, MacMillan got a hold of Spiller’s helmet and hit him with it.

So the MacMillan-vs.-Big Snake reunion will have to wait until Jan. 9 at the Coliseum.

As for tonight, the Komets come in without having skated since Tuesday. There was limited ice availability in town, and the Komets wanted to give their players an extended holiday. The players were instructed to make sure they exercise often and skate, if possible, in their hometowns.

“Most of the guys are in great shape,” Sims said. “But you do wonder what to expect (tonight).”

jcohn@jg.net

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