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Komets

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CHL playoffs
Turner Conference
Semifinals
Best-of-five
Game 1: at Rapid City, 9 p.m. Friday
Game 2: at Rapid City, 9 p.m. Saturday
Game 3: Memorial Coliseum, 7:30 p.m. April 20
Game 4: Coliseum, 8 p.m. April 22*
Game 5: at Rapid City, 8 p.m. April 24*
* if necessary
Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
The Komets, shown celebrating after Wednesday’s first-round win, must wait until Friday for the second round.

For K’s in playoffs, waiting hardest part

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 Friday in South Dakota.

By then, the Komets will have had eight off days since sweeping the Bloomington PrairieThunder in an opening-round upset. The Komets won the final game of the series 6-3 Wednesday in Memorial Coliseum.

Most of the Komets aren’t wild about the wait between series – the layoff is so long so the Rush can open with games on weekend dates – but such is life in the minor leagues, especially when you’re the lower-seeded team.

“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 March 12.

After losing 16 of their first 21 games, the Komets went 31-27-8 and took the sixth seed in the Turner Conference.

The Rush was 40-22-4 to earn the top seed and swept Dayton, which was coached by Fort Wayne native Brian Gratz, in a series that ended Tuesday.

“I think it’s too long a layoff for everybody involved, I’m sure the other team, too,” 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 today), so we can feel 100 percent for the next round.”

jcohn@jg.net

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