One thing that marked the first three games of the Komets series against the Rapid City Rush was Fort Waynes penchant for taking bad penalties.
Many of them were retaliatory, playing right into the plans of the defending CHL champion Rush.
But in the Komets 4-1 victory Friday, which sent the Turner Conference semifinals back to South Dakota for a decisive Game 5 at 8:05 tonight, the Komets were restrained and they dominated the action.
Weve got to stay disciplined, Komets defenseman Frankie DeAngelis said. We know weve got to just suck it up if we get punched in the head. We cant be running around taking penalties.
In the series, the Rush has scored on 7 of 32 power plays. The Komets are 8 for 31.
The big thing is to play within your systems and stay at 5-on-5 as much as you can, Rush coach Joe Ferras said. (The Komets) move it around really well and have got really dangerous guys. Weve got to stay (out of the penalty box). Theyve got a good power play.
But when youre at this level and only carrying (21) guys, penalty kills wear you down. You cant kill lots of penalties and expect to be fresh.
Fort Wayne coach Al Sims agreed discipline is needed in the postseason.
Weve talked about it since Day 1 of the playoffs, he said. Its been in our playoff books, and we tell the players almost every night that were here to win hockey games. To be down 2-0 (in the series), we couldnt afford to take that type of retaliation where (the officials) dont see the first one and we take the second one. And, even with us saying that, its happened two or three times in the series.
The Komets are prioritizing getting a fast start like they did Friday, when they had the first four goals. Coming into that game, theyd been outscored 6-1 in the series opening periods.
Weve got to have a good start again, similar to (Friday), Komets goaltender Kevin Reiter said. We were ready to play from the get-go. Nothing against (the Rush), but I thought we really dictated the first period. Scoring first, for us, is huge. Were a totally different hockey team when we score first. Going into that building, we cant be nervous about what we want to do; weve just got to play our game. Hopefully, well keep working hard, draw penalties, get on the power play and make them pay.