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Ice Chips

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    When American Hockey League training camps opened today, there were lots of players under contract to play for the Komets this season who took part.
  • Bachman in Prospects Game
    The USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, in which Karch Bachman of Walcottville, is playing will be on NHL a network at 7 p.m. Thursday.
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Here we go again -- Game 7

Thomas goal with 2.1 seconds remaining ties amazing series

PORT HURON, Mich. -- These words came from Komets captain Guy Dupuis, when asked about the impending Game 7 against the Port Huron Icehawks, which will be Monday night at Memorial Coliseum:

"It's going to be a great fight and that's how hockey should be played. If you're a hockey fan in Fort Wayne, you have to be there. There's no excuse. Cancel everything else you have on your schedule and show up Monday night (at 7:30 p.m)."

I've got to agree with him on that.

Fort Wayne prides itself as being a hockey town. I don't care if it's Monday night. I don't care what the weather's like. This is a game that must not be missed.

And if you missed Saturday's 4-3 victory, you missed a doozy.The Komets shook off some discipline issues. Port Huron was 2 of 8 on power plays. Fort Wayne was 0 for 2.

The Komets shook off a lot of pressure, again, as they won for the second straight night after falling behind 3-1 in the best-of-seven series.

After going up 3-2 on a goal from center Colin Chaulk at 14:39, the recovered from Mike Kinnie tying it up with a wraparound goal just 1:08 later.

"We had to be resilient," Dupuis said. "Guys knew there was no tomorrow. We were disappointed when the puck went in, but you could see on the next shift, the guys got back at it. … On that last shift, you could see the guys were amped up and it was like everybody got a Red Bull in them or something because everybody on the ice for us was moving a couple miles per hour faster than everybody else."

The game was won with only 2.1 seconds remaining. Defenseman Kevin Bertram, whose last three games have been his best work in years, as far as I'm concerned, fired the puck from the blue line and center Leo Thomas redirected it past rookie goaltender Raffaele D'Orso.

Thomas, the Komets' leading goal scorer during the regular season, scored his first two goals of the playoffs tonight. Talk about fortuitous timing.

I would imagine D'Orso, who stopped 13 of 16 shots, will be in net Monday. Larry Sterling came out of the game after one period, having aggravated the head injury that kept him from Game 5.

Interesting side note, in attendance Saturday was one of Port Huron's favorite sons, goaltender Jack Campbell, who will be one of the first picks in the upcoming NHL draft. I heard the Icehawks actually tried to sign him for the playoffs, which would have been a hoot. Can't imagine that would have been worth the injury.

I can't say enough about the resiliency of this Fort Wayne team. This is the third time since 2005 that the Komets have forced a Game 7 after falling behind 3-1, and they won the previous two series it happened. All time in Game 7s, the Komets are 6-3.

This is just a group that, when things seem at their direst, they get it together. You expect it from the veterans at this point, but the rookies are catching on, too.

The biggest thing for Game 7, aside from not letting down, is they must stay out of the penalty box. My best guess is Bob Langdon will be the referee. The Komets cannot keep playing with fire with all these penalties, especially if they are retaliatory ones like Keith Rodger took to set up a 5-on-3, one of three two-man advantages the Icehawks had tonight.

It's been a long series. But a fun one.

Justin A. Cohn, pro sports coordinator for The Journal Gazette, has been covering the Fort Wayne Komets since 1997. His reporting includes game stories from home and away, features about the players and personalities associated with the Komets, plus coverage of issues affecting hockey at all levels. A native of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Cohn graduated from Emory University in Atlanta. He can be reached at 260-461-8429 or by email at jcohn@jg.net.

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