The Komets know about staving off elimination – theyve done it eight times since 2008 – but the decisive game of a series is a different animal.
The Komets and Rapid City Rush will be in such a game at 8:05 p.m. today at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center – Game 5 of the best-of-five Turner Conference semifinals.
We know itll be war out there. We know it will be a battle, said goaltender Kevin Reiter, who stopped 69 of 74 shots in leading the Komets to a 5-4 overtime victory in Game 3 on Wednesday and a 4-1 victory in Game 4 on Friday at Memorial Coliseum. We dont want to think too much; we just want to pick up where we left off. We want to keep playing the way were playing. Weve got the momentum. Weve won the last two. Were confident we can win in that building. We should have won Game 2, to be honest with you, and I like our chances.
The Komets have been in this position many times. They won Game 7s against Rockford in the 2005 UHL semifinals and Port Huron in the 2008 IHL finals and 2010 IHL semifinals.
This is a Fort Wayne franchise that won three straight IHL titles before joining the CHL, and based on the last two games, the Komets dont want the run to end.
Weve got to prepare just exactly the way we have been, Komets defenseman Frankie DeAngelis said. Everyone is on the same page now. We know whats at stake. We had that feeling Wednesday that we dont want this to be our last game, so we dont want that feeling again. Were going to be ready to do whatever it takes.
But the Rush is the reigning CHL champion. It has won four straight series. And that included a 7-3 victory in Game 7 of the conference finals last year against Bossier-Shreveport.
Theres nothing to be said now, Rush coach Joe Ferras said. Its Game 5, and its all on the line now. (The Komets) did what they had to do at home. We did what we had to do at home.
Now lets see what were made of.
Colorado, which completed its 3-1 series victory over Missouri on Thursday, awaits the winner of this series.
The Rush is hoping for a capacity crowd of 5,119, but the game is on Easter.
Theyre not going to go down easy, DeAngelis said. Its going to be a great game. Were going to try and get the crowd out of it at the beginning – weve got to have a great start – and weve just got to play our game and not worry too much about what theyre doing.