RAPID CITY, S.D. – Defenseman Jamie Lovell will go down in history for having one of the most amazing goals in 60 years of Komets’ playoffs.
As he was readying to absorb a hit from Rapid City’s Andrew Smale in Game 6 of the Turner Conference semifinals, he fired the puck down the ice and it beat goaltender Tim Boron after taking a funny hop. It was the first goal in the Komets’ 4-3 overtime victory, which eliminated the Rush and earned Fort Wayne a spot in the Turner Conference finals.
I was passing the puck. I was passing to Bobby Chaumont, Lovell said. I knew I was going to take a hit. Chaumont was streaking through the middle, so I sent it up ice. Then I’m on my (butt) and I look up and the red light is on.
It was unexpected, but some would argue Lovell’s entire playoffs have been just that as the Komets start their series against Missouri at Memorial Coliseum tonight.
Lovell, 29, struggled with consistency and turnovers in the regular season. He did have five goals and 23 points in 60 games, and the Komets remembered he was a magnificent performer in the playoffs for rival Port Huron in the IHL.
He has intensified his physical play in the postseason, producing one goal and four points in six games.
He’s been tremendous. His game has picked up. His physicality has picked up. He’s just been a stalwart for us, Fort Wayne coach Al Sims said at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
The Komets weren’t about to feel bad about Lovell’s odd goal. They gave up a strange one, too, in Game 3’s 3-1 victory, when the Rush dumped the puck in from the blue line and it caromed off the Coliseum dasher boards wildly to give Collin Circelli an open net at which to shoot.
Maybe the Hockey Gods were trying to say something, that maybe (Tuesday) was our night, Sims said. We got one that maybe we didn’t deserve, but we certainly won it when it was all even going into overtime.
Lovell had twice experienced a team coming back from a 3-1 series deficit to win with Port Huron. That team was Fort Wayne, in 2008’s IHL finals and the 2010 semifinals. He was happy to do his part to make sure the Rush didn’t do that against the Komets this year.
Playoffs are the playoffs, and I want to (expletive) win, Lovell said.
That’s all I want to do, and this is our greatest chance, and I’m going to put it all out there.