The Komets reputation is one of being able to come back like perhaps no other team in minor-league hockey.
Thats rooted in their successful comebacks from 3-1 playoff deficits in the 2008 Turner Cup Finals and the 2010 IHL semifinals.
Now that theyre in the CHL, though, the Komets cant afford to stumble at the beginning of their first-round playoff series against the Bloomington PrairieThunder.
Sixteen teams qualified for the playoffs, and the first two rounds are best-of-five.
We cant drop behind 3-1, thats for sure, Fort Wayne coach Al Sims said with a chuckle, after his team grabbed the Turner Conferences sixth seed with a 2-1 victory over Colorado on Saturday.
If we do, well be out. We could go down 2-0 and win three in a row, but really, we have to win one on the road (to start). We have to find a way to win one on the road and play like we did at home (Saturday).
The PrairieThunder (37-22-7) grabbed the third seed by earning a point in a 3-2 shootout loss to Evansville on Sunday.
Fort Wayne (31-27-8), which won the last three championships of the IHL, was 3-7-0 against Bloomington in the regular season. The Komets were in last place until the first week of February and finished in their highest position of the season.
Bloomington is a low-scoring team. Like us, theyre toward the bottom of the rankings in scoring. It will be 2-1 or 3-2 every night. We know it, and Im sure they know it, too, Sims said. Weve got some confidence going against Bloomington.
The PrairieThunder ranked 14th with 2.89 goals per game. The Komets ranked 16th with 2.83.
The schedule for the playoff series was announced Sunday – Games 1 and 2 will be at Bloomington, Ill., on Saturday and Sunday – and the Komets 19-man playoff roster will be revealed today. That roster wont include forward Jon Mirasty, general manager David Franke said, and another player, likely a defenseman, will have to be left off.
Sims already said Nick Boucher will be his Game 1 starting goaltender. He backstopped the Komets in their comebacks from 3-1, both times against Port Huron.