None of the goals will go in the vault, among the greatest ever scored. These games won't be particularly remembered weeks from now.
It's been ugly hockey out at Memorial Coliseum, but the Komets are just fine with that. A 2-1 victory Monday night gave them a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven Turner Cup Finals.
The Komets are halfway to another IHL championship, which would be their third straight, a potential winning streak unprecedented in 58 years of Komets hockey.
Left wing P.C. Drouin netted the winning goal at 5:46 of the third period, after linemate Sean O'Connor skated out of the right corner, fought off a defender, and touched a pass over. Drouin swept it just underneath goaltender Rob Nolan.
"I've been telling these guys, 'Those are the types of chances we're going to get. They don't open up or give up 2-on-1s, 3-on-2s. They play strong defensively, clog the middle of the ice and the front of the net. It's going to be ugly goals, goals off cycles (down low) and stuff like that. And we're ready for that."
Now the series shifts to Perani Arena in Flint, Mich., which the Komets allege is smaller than the regulation size of 200 feet by 85 feet, and therefore more conducive to physical play. Mistakes, they think, will be amplified.
On Monday, there was really only one notable mistake by the Komets, but it was a pivotal one. Late in the first period, Flint defenseman Jake Pence, who won the last two Cups with Fort Wayne, fired a shot from the right circle into the chest of goaltender Nick Boucher. While attempting to sweep the puck away from the crease, Fort Wayne center Justin Hodgman inadvertently put it into the back of his own net.
"You know, that was just a funny one where the puck's bouncing to your own guy and you just relax," Boucher said. "You see your guy there and it's, 'OK, we're in good shape,' and then all of a sudden the puck's coming back to you. ... "(Hodgman) just said, 'Sorry, Bouch, we'll try to get one back for you.'"
The Komets, who outshot the Generals 36-32, were resilient, though. During a power-play midway through the second period – Flint's Nathan Ward was in the penalty box for hooking – defenseman Guy Dupuis shot the puck from the blue line and it was stopped by Nolan. However, the puck was laying underneath the arm of an unaware Nolan's arm, and left wing Matt Syroczynski chipped the puck into the top of the net.
"It's going to be ugly. It's not going to be pretty. They are going to be close games," Syroczynski said. "That's fine. We've got to win those types of games, too."
- Tuesday's edition of "We've got Game," co-hosted by Justin Cohn and Ben Smith, is going to have an exciting show. We will have the Komets' P.C. Drouin and, by popular request, hockey writer Brendan Savage of The Flint Journal. Use the radio button on your right. We'll try something new: If you have questions you'd like asked of any of me, Ben, P.C. or Brendan, e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put a name and hometown on it. The show will be a different time, 5 to 6 p.m., because I have a conflict this week. If you cannot listen live, it's not a problem. You can listen whenever is convenient, like when you're watching the NHL playoffs or fighting boredom when your boss is out of town.