When: 7:30 tonight
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
When: 5 p.m. Sunday
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FORT WAYNE — Any doubts about Brandon Marino’s ability to adjust to the ECHL’s style of play have been erased.
He has 11 goals and 43 points in 37 games with the Komets. That’s a similar pace to last season, when he had 41 goals and 90 points in 65 games for Quad City of the CHL, in which he was selected as the league’s MVP.
“I think he’s the best offseason acquisition we made,” Fort Wayne coach Al Sims said. “You can’t say enough about a guy his size putting up the points he has in this league, especially in a season in which the American Hockey League has really pushed a lot of guys down here (because of the NHL lockout), especially defensemen.
“(Marino) did it in the Central Hockey League and he hasn’t missed a beat. He’s one of the few guys who hasn’t missed a beat and looks the same.”
Marino, 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, has only scored one goal in the last nine games. That caused him to quip, “I think I need to learn how to shoot again.”
But he’s also had less help because of the injuries to Colin Chaulk (foot), Thomas Beauregard (upper body) and Luca Caputi (shoulder), and the call-ups of Corey Elkins, Josh Brittain and Ryan Lasch to Norfolk.
Heading into Thursday night, Marino ranked third in the league in points – first among active players – yet he wasn’t picked to be an all-star because, at 26, he’s considered too old to be fit for a game showcasing the league’s top prospects for NHL scouts. (Daniel Maggio is the Komets’ all-star.)
Marino had never played in the ECHL before this season, but he hasn’t changed anything to adjust after three seasons with Quad City in the IHL and CHL.
“I’ve tried to do things the same way,” he said. “I don’t think you should try and play to the league you are playing in, as opposed to preparing every night the same way and coming in the same way every summer.”
While Marino has garnered 34 penalty minutes, showing a penchant for hitting players bigger than him, he’s also plus-8 and one of the Komets’ better defensive forwards.
“He’s tenacious. He is tenacious on defense,” said Sims, whose team will play the Cyclones three times this weekend.
“He’s hacking, whacking. He takes some penalties because of his intensity, but he’s definitely a two-way guy here.”
Notes: Defenseman Daniel Maggio, who has four goals and 15 points in 36 games, was called up by Bridgeport of the American Hockey League. … Nick Schaus was called up to Norfolk. … Meanwhile, the Komets have called up Nick Wheeler from Dayton of the Federal Hockey League. After Dayton’s coach tweeted that Peter Cintala had been called up, too, there has been no move by the Komets. Ron Cramer and John Dunbar’s move from Pensacola of the Southern Professional Hockey League to Fort Wayne has also been halted for the time being.