Game 1 of the Turner Cup Finals was, to be frank, a bit dull.
As people in either locker room will tell you, there wasn’t much hitting or intensity, as both teams sensed the gravity of the game, tried to get a read on each other and played conservatively with the puck, after both came off emotional seven-game semifinal victories.
The Komets, who won 3-2 on a Guy Dupuis power-play goal from the right circle, are expecting tonight’s game at Memorial Coliseum to be more of a battle. And they want to dominate it by keeping the puck in the offensive zone.
Our emphasis is to play our game and go at them, said Dupuis, a defenseman, who had three points. We didn’t really play with great intensity or great energy like we wanted to, and I think if we do that with our three lines, it’s going to be very difficult for them to stop us.
We want to play smart defensively, but if we take it to them sometimes the best defense is having the puck in their zone, cycling and make really nice plays offensively, when they don’t have the puck. That will be the key in the next game, to really pick up the speed of it more, the energy, the intensity and more of the hits.
The Komets outshot the Generals 31-24, but Fort Wayne’s only even-strength goal came from the third line of Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock, Brad MacMillan and Justin Chwedoruk.
Chewdoruk tied it at 2 by catching the puck in mid-air, dropping it to the ice and blasting it past goaltender Rob Nolan.
I think it’ll be (more exciting tonight). I don’t think either team had their A’ game (Saturday), Komets goalie Nick Boucher said. I think our third line was probably our most dominant down low. ... I’m going to expect them to come out hard and really put the heat on us. They’re a team that really generates a lot of offense on power plays, turnovers and transition play. We’re obviously aware of that, but we’ve got to take care of business and stick to the systems we have in place.
Flint coach Jason Muzzatti is used to seeing his team play from behind. The Generals were in last place in January and recovered from a 3-1 semifinals deficit against Muskegon, but he doesn’t want the Generals to let down much against the Komets.
There’s room for the intensity to be turned up in this one, he said. I don’t know if our guys need to spot a lead to get going, but we don’t want to do that here. That’s not the plan. We need to gear it up here, quick.
The Komets want to be careful not to let the Generals steal any of the games at the Coliseum.
With a 2-2-1-1-1 (format), you always want to go on the road up two games and really put the pressure on them, Boucher said. They’re, obviously, looking for a split here and you’re never in trouble until you lose on home ice. In a 2-2-1-1-1, you’ve got to take care of business.