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Ice Chips

  • CHL vs. ECHL lawsuit makes for interesting reading
    If you are interested in this sort of thing, here is a lawsuit that was filed against the ECHL by the CHL, in which it is alleged the ECHL tried to "poach" the Rapid City Rush and Allen Americans.
  • Ex-Komet becomes a coach
    Former Komets player Kevin Kaminski has been hired to coach the Portland Junior Pirates.
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    Goaltender Ben Meisner, who played last season for the Komets, has signed to play with Allen of the CHL this season.
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Komets capture Turner Cup ... again

3rd championship in as many years is unprecedented

First off, let's credit the heart and the class of the Flint Generals.

Down by three goals, they put on quite a show in the third period. And even after the Komets had won 3-2 on Saturday night, taking the Turner Cup for a third straight season, the Generals stuck around on the ice to honor the accomplishment.

That was classy.

So how about those last few, furious minutes, after the Generals got goals from John Ronan and Jake Pence?

"They've got (former NHL players) Bryan Smolinski and Pascal Rheaume, and they've got a great head coach in Jason Muzzatti," said left wing Matt Syroczynski, appropriately chosen as Playoff MVP by the IHL office for his 11 goals and 16 points in 12 games.

"There's so much experience and we beat a very good team. We treated this game like it was a Game 7. We weren't going back to Flint on Monday. We laid it all on the line. They made it hairy in the end, but our veteran presence got us through."

How did he feel about taking Playoff MVP honors, which went to Justin Hodgman in 2008 and David Hukalo in 2009?

"I was feeling good coming down the stretch in the regular season," he said. "I'm going to go to those hard areas where a lot of people don't want to go. That's where I score my goals. Sometimes it's tough. Sometimes the rebounds don't go on your stick. But my game is in front of the net, in the crease, and if you battle hard enough, my career has been right there, so that's where I go."

Scoring Saturday for the Komets were Syroczynski on the power play, and left wing P.C. Drouin, who scored twice, once on the power play. His eventual game-winner, which came during even-strength play at 11:11 of the second period, was a wrist shot from the left circle, after he faked a slapshot.

"We found a way to do it (at the end). It was a little hard," Drouin said. "You start grabbing your stick a little harder there at the end when they scored their second goal, but we managed to keep them out of our zone through hard work, moving our feet, and swarming the puck. We played with desperation at the end, not wanting to go to overtime or lose tonight."

The Komets, who took the best-of-seven series 4-1, captured their eighth playoff championship. They also won the IHL's Turner Cup in 1963, 1965, 1973, 1993, 2008, 2009. They captured the United Hockey League's Colonial Cup in 2003.

A night after Tim Haun got his surprise start and stopped 33 shots in a 6-2 road victory at Perani Arena, Nick Boucher was back between the pipes for Fort Wayne. He became the first goalie in franchise history to backstop the Komets to three championships, surpassing Chuck Adamson's mark of two.

For team leader Colin Chaulk, it was his fourth Cup win with the Komets, also an unprecedented feat for a Fort Wayne player, while Sims got his fourth Cup, too.

Fort Wayne is the first team to win three straight Turner Cups since the Cincinnati Mohawks won five from 1953 to 1957.

"My wife, Jillian, asked me today, 'Hey, you're getting older. Do you ever have a different feeling about this?'" Chaulk said. "I'm not as out-of-control crazy and excited, like I was in '03. But it becomes a little bit of a pride factor. You're so close, you can taste it and you don't want anyone to take it away from you."

In case you're wondering why Drouin took the first lap with the cup, instead of captain Guy Dupuis, it was because Drouin missed the playoffs last year with an injury and Dupuis wanted to make a nice gesture.

"Guy just decided that," Drouin said. "It was a nice gesture. Probably about me not being able to play in the playoffs last year. That was a real nice gesture, and I appreciate it, and it was a good feeling."

So what happens now for the Komets? First, they must find out which league they will play in next season. Team president Michael Franke said by the end of the month, the IHL will decide whether it will survive or lose Flint and wither away, though the feeling is that the IHL will be back.

Assuming the league is the same, the Komets want to retain the same nucleus, and the players believe they should.

I'll have much more on that issue in the coming days.

Remember, the end-of-season party and jersey auction will be Tuesday at the Coliseum. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and festivities begin at 7 p.m. Season-ticket holders get in free, and it's $5 for all others. And The Journal Gazette will have a special section celebrating the Komets' Turner Cup victory in Tuesday's paper, so buy it.

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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