This was a story that was either legendary or convenient, but cool nonetheless.
Early into overtime, Fort Wayne center Mathieu Curadeau said on the bench: "It's about time I put that puck in the net."
Then he went out and did that, getting to the rebound of a David Hukalo shot, and taking two whacks at the puck before putting it into a virtually wide-open net for a 2-1 victory in Game 1 of the Turner Cup Finals against the Muskegon Lumberjacks.
"I had been on the bench, like, 'I got this. I've got this one. I've got it, it's mine.' I had so many chances, it was a question of time before it'd go in," Curadeau said.
He joked, however, that he's probably done that plenty of times and not ended up being the hero. But the hero he is, as the Komets won their 12th straight home game.
Game 2 will be at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.
The big thing I noticed about this game was that Muskegon was clogging up the neutral zone, trying to shut down the Komets' offensive attack, while waiting for the perfect opportunities to score. The Lumberjacks didn't get that many great chances, though. When they did, they were either foiled by goaltender Nick Boucher or by great defensive plays from guys like Danko Mironovic or Leo Thomas.
The Komets, meanwhile, weren't as crisp as usual on offense. How many errant passes did we see? Or passes that went off of skates and sticks? This game could have been heavily in favor of Fort Wayne, if they'd been a little bit more in sync.
But the Lumberjacks must come away from this game with some confidence. They took the top-seeded team to overtime and now just have to play a similar game and hope for the Komets to let down their guard a bit.
- Olivier Legault is eligible to come off injured reserve from his shoulder injury, but someone else would have to take his place. That someone could be P.C. Drouin, the Komets' leading scorer, who has yet to play in the postseason. The Komets will evaluate his condition before Game 3 and then probably make a determination.
- For tonight's three-stars-so-good-Simon-Cowell-would-like-them: First star, Danko Mironovic, who had a rare goal and slid to break up a Gerome Giudice breakaway in the third peroid; Second star, Mathieu Curadeau, a force all night and he got the winner; Third star, John DiPace, who had an assist and lots of chances for the Lumberjacks. Honorable mention to both goalies.
- Things continue to sound promising on the IHL's hopes to put a team into the Quad Cities. But they have yet to find a local ownership group.