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Ice Chips

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      Even though the Komets lost 3-1 to the Greenville Road Warriors -- and lost their hold on first place in the Eastern Conference for the first time this season -- I think you will enjoy the highlights in the video here.
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Can Komets recover?

RAPID CITY, S.D. -- After losing the opener of the best-of-five Turner Conference semifinals series 5-2, the Komets were still confident they'd be able to come back and win Game 2 tonight at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.

"Definitely," coach Al Sims said. "It was one game and it doesn't matter if it was 10-1 or 2-1. We were in the game. We won the second period and it was 3-1 heading into the third. We've got to come out and take it one period at a time. It's got to be a low-scoring game (in Game 2); we can't let them get to four or five goals a night."

Meanwhile, Rapid City coach Joe Ferras was in his locker room stressing that the Komets won't be a team to get rattled by one loss; these are the Komets who won the last three championships in the IHL, going 6-0 in games which they could have been eliminated.

The key for the Komets against the CHL-champion Rush was to cut down on penalties. In Game 1, Rapid City scored on 2 of 9 power plays, while Fort Wayne was 1 for 5.

"I thought our team played well, played hard," Sims said. "But (in Game 2), we've got to be a different team. It's one game lost and we can not get baited (into penalties) by that team. We've got to put our heads down and play Komet hockey the way we're capable of, and then things will work out."

The Rush got three goals in the opener from Ryan Menei. Both Fort Wayne goals came from center Colin Chaulk.

"There are going to be ups and downs," Chaulk said. "We came here trying to, obviously, win as many games as we can. If we get the split, then we've done our job. It would have been nice to get the first one, but what can you do now?"

The ice conditions at the Civic Center were clearly poor, as players fell repeatedly and the puck wouldn't settle. That directly led to the Menei goal that made it 4-1 in the third period.

"Hey, they're on the same ice and they managed to play a great game," Chaulk said. "It's not like they're on the jet ice and we're on the (bad) ice when we've got the puck. Again, we've got to deal with it."

More than anything, said Chaulk, the captain, the Komets had to play as cohesively as they did in the first-round sweep of Bloomington.

"I don't think we played together (Friday)," he said. "I think in bursts we played well, but I don't think anybody had a good night. Every single player had an average game, and average isn't going to do it. One guy would be going hard, and four guys would be watching. There were three or four shifts where all five guys were going hard, and we got chances (then). We just didn't play together; it's as simple as that."

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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