In the midst of the Komets 3-2 victory over the Flint Generals in Game 1 of the Turner Cup Finals on Saturday night, center Justin Chwedoruk had an interesting goal.
Defenseman Guy Dupuis outraced an opponent to the puck and chipped it high, setting up Chwedoruk to jump, catch the puck in mid-air, drop it to the ice and blast it past goaltender Rob Nolan.
Did that goal look familiar?
It was an awful lot like Justin Hodgmans triple-overtime Game 7 Turner Cup winner from 2008.
We were racing for the puck and I just got there in front of the guy. It was like a 9-iron, and I chipped it over his stick, Dupuis said. Luckily, Chewy was in front and he scored one kind of like Hodgman did in the triple overtime. He grabbed it, put it down and luckily the goalie didnt know where it was and Chewy was able to put it in.
Looking for balance
If Game 1 proved anything, its that whoever wins this series is going to have to get production from any number of places.
The Komets top line of Matt Syroczynski, Colin Chaulk and Hodgman did its part, cranking out 12 shots and accounting for a power-play goal by Hodgman. But with quality chances likely to be at a premium, everyones going to have to get in on the act.
Enter, among others, P.C. Drouin and Sean OConnor, who managed nine shots between them in the Komets 3-2 victory in Game 1.
Ever since the last 30, 35 games of the year, our line (with Leo Thomas) really started peaking, said Drouin, who contributed five shots and an assist, his seventh in the last four games. Well still have our off nights, but theyre pretty rare right now. Were playing well, were skating hard, and we seem to be creating off the rush, and also off the cycle in the offensive zone.
One of Flint coach Jason Muzzattis challenges tonight will be figuring out how to get his stars, namely former NHL players Bryan Smolinski and Pascal Rheaume, some open ice.
I think (Komets coach Al Sims) has spent a lot of time trying to match up, Muzzatti said.
He made it challenging for me to get matchups I wanted. In the end, its up to what each team does, their systems and getting things accomplished.
Patience a virtue
Everyone pretty much conceded this will be a patient mans series. So maybe there was method to a cautious first period in Game 1.
You always want to put as much pressure on as you can at any point in the game, Hodgman said of Fort Wayne and Flint combining for just 13 shots on goal in the first period.
But if it looked like we didnt get going until the second and third the fact that we had legs in the second and third is a great thing.