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How do we feel about the layoff?

"The road gives you urgency, while home gives you comfort" -- Al Sims

There's a lot of time for the Komets to think, a lot of time for them to prepare, for the CHL's Turner Conference semifinals series against the Rapid City Rush.

That best-of-five series doesn't begin until April 15 in South Dakota.

By then, they'll have had eight off days since polishing off the Bloomington PrairieThunder in an upset sweep that culminated with Wednesday's 6-3 victory at Memorial Coliseum.

Most of the Komets aren't wild about the long divide between series -- the layoff is so long so that the Rush can open with games on prime weekend dates -- but such is life in the minor leagues, especially when you're the lower seed.

"It's going to be the same for everyone," Fort Wayne defenseman Guy Dupuis said. "Rapid City has got momentum, too. Anybody who wins in the first round has momentum, you know?

"For us, it's going to be important to practice with intensity and do game-like drills out there to keep us sharp. If we do that, and I believe (head coach Al Sims and assistant Gary Graham) are going to do that, it's going to help us out in the second round."

The series pits the Rush, which won last season's CHL championship, against the winners of the last three IHL titles.

The teams have met twice, with the Rush winning 4-0 on opening night and 3-1 on March 12.

After losing 16 of its first 21 games, the Komets went 31-27-8 in the regular season and took the sixth seed in the Turner Conference. The Rush was 40-22-4 for the top seed and swept Dayton in a series that ended Tuesday.

"I think it's too long a layoff for everybody involved, I'm sure the other team, too," Fort Wayne coach Al Sims said. "We saw what happened to Bloomington after (five off days) and coming out at home against us in Game 1 -- they were not sharp at all (and lost 5-2)."

However, the Komets had six days of down time.

"But I think the road gives you urgency," Sims said, "while home gives you comfort. We were the urgent team the first game and really outplayed (Bloomington)."

The Komets are hoping for a similar outcome in Game 1 of this series.

"(The layoff) is going to give guys a chance to rest up, heal up a bit," Komets defenseman Matt Krug said. "Some guys have bumps and bruises that we've been playing through. It might be a better thing (than starting this weekend), so we can feel 100 percent for the next round."

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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