IN THE NEWS
CORNET'S FIVE IN FIVE AN IMPRESSIVE START
By Chris Wescott,
When the Oklahoma City Barons opened the 2011-2012 season it was no secret that they’d have their fair share of scoring talent. But one of the biggest surprises in that department is second year pro Philippe Cornet.
After being a healthy scratch in OKC’s season opener, the 6-0, 196 pound winger has scored five goals in five games to start this season. Last season, he recorded seven goals in 60 games.
Despite him nearing his goal total from last season in the first five games of the season, Cornet, a former 5th round (133rd overall) pick by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2008 Draft, isn’t thinking about the numbers.
“To be honest, I don’t really think about it,” Cornet said. “The main thing I was thinking about was getting the first (goal), because the first one is always the hardest to get. Once you get the first one, you just get on a roll and everything goes well.”
As he continues to see extensive time on the ice, Cornet says he doesn’t want to change the way he’s playing by getting caught up in his performance.
“I just don’t want to change my game… Just play the same way I’ve been playing. I’m playing good defensively, blocking some shots and getting some chances offensively and I just got to capitalize on those.”
The fast start by Cornet is a credit to the young forward’s offseason work ethic.
“I just wanted to come back (to OKC) and prove that I’m a good player on a regular basis with this team, in this league and make a difference every game,” Cornet said. “This summer I worked harder than ever on my skating and I just think it pays off right now and I’m really happy about it.”
Cornet is one year older, one year more mature and one year better than where he was last season. It’s something that head coach Todd Nelson has noticed right away.
“I think that’s it,” Nelson said. “One year maturity… Like I said, he put in a good summer where he trimmed down a bit, he worked on his legs, he got a bit faster and that was one of the things we identified going into the summer, he has to get that extra gear to pull away from guys and right now he’s achieved that. It’s paying off for him.”
The most improved part of Cornet’s game may be his physical presence at the net. Which is where he is getting the majority of his scores.
“That’s one of the things I wasn’t doing last year. Just driving the net and just beating the defenseman one on one and I just got to do that more this year. I think I get rewarded that way. If I don’t drive the net, it’s harder to get goals. Like most of the goals I’ve scored are in the crease or in the slot.”
Cornet heads into tonight’s game against the Charlotte Checkers ranked 10th in the American Hockey League in goals scored.
The Barons play the Checkers for the first time in franchise history tonight. The doors open at 6 p.m. CT and the puck drops at 7 p.m.
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