Disney On Ice, this was never going to be. What, you were expecting triple Salchows? A Cavalcade of Pucks? A Star-Spangled Salute to the Point-A-Minute Edmonton Oilers?
Not gonna happen, in this mans Turner Cup Finals. You may check your sequins at the door along with your smoke and your mirrors and assorted other special effects.
What youll get instead from this is what we got in the Komets 3-2 Game 1 victory Saturday night that, for the first period or so, was a whole lot of bobbing and weaving and staying at home, positional hockey at its best and Anesthesia on Ice for those looking for esthetics.
Want to know how much rubber the Komets Nick Boucher and Flints Rob Nolan saw in their respective nets in the first 17 minutes Saturday?
Well, you could count em up on two hands.
Ten shots, five apiece, that was all there was those first 17 minutes for two teams as disciplined as Prussians in their own end. There were no goals. Boucher read War and Peace while lounging around in the Fort Wayne end; Nolan got through Moby Dick in the Flint end.
It got a little more lively after that, but close to the vest was still the preferred theme for the evening, as it will be for the series. The Komets scored three goals, two on the power play. Flint scored two, one with the extra attacker. The Komets outshot the Generals by the sane total of 31-24; Guy Dupuis scored the winner 3:39 into the third period.
Wasnt a pretty game, Komets forward Justin Hodgman said. But I think we can expect that every night. Were perfectly matched.
And that will not make for fireworks hockey, but it will make for a series where breathing room will be at a premium, and that means a series that will likely turn on mistakes. A careless pass out of the defensive end. A turnover at center ice. A juicy rebound left unattended at the wrong time.
Its how things went between these two in the regular season, when seven of the 11 meetings were decided by a single goal, one game went to a shootout, and the winning team scored three or fewer goals seven times. So why would it be different now?
Yeah, its gonna be one, two-goal games here against these guys, and we know that, defenseman Brandon Warner said.
They dont give you much, P.C. Drouin agreed.
What they did give Saturday were two power-play goals in four chances – they made hash of a 5-on-3 that ran 1:38, but thats a quibble – and if theres something for the Komets to hang their hats on for Game 2, thats a start.
They were, after all, 2 for 27 with the extra skater in their last five games against Flint during the regular season, four of them losses. So maybe theyve got that going for them now.
Huge, Komets coach Al Sims said. Hopefully it shows Flint they cant take bad penalties against us or we can hurt them.
I think its going to take away some of their physical play.
Not that it was all that physical, anyway. Mostly it was what it will be from here on out – solid goaltending, guys getting back to take away odd-man rushes, shutting down the passing lanes in the offensive end. Its not pretty, as Hodgman said. But its exactly how both these teams got here to begin with, so there you go.
Yeah, its low-scoring, a real low-scoring puck possession game, Warner said. Theyre trying to get all their goals off turnovers that were making, stuff like that. So a lot of its just us maintaining the puck.
Weve got to be smart with the puck. Thats just the way we have to play.
So be it.