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Ice Chips

  • This is sad news
    Former Komets star Joe Kastelic, who once owned the record for most goals scored in the IHL, died Wednesday at 81. He skated for the Komets from 1953 to 1957 and then again in 1960-61.
  • Major signings for Komets
    The Komets bolstered their roster with a potential No. 1 goaltender, a former first-round NHL draft pick, a familiar face and player who should be popular with the fans.
  • Former Komet in Elmira
    Steven Shamanski, who had a cup of coffee with the Komets, has signed to play this season with Elmira of the ECHL.
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3 wins give K's crown, momentum

You cannot overestimate how important it was for the Komets to win their final three games and go into the playoffs with some momentum, even if those games came against lowly Dayton.

"Before these three games, we were teeter-tottering. We didn't know which way we wanted to go," said captain Colin Chaulk, who had a goal and four assists in the Komets' 6-2 victory over the Gems on Sunday.

That victory gave the Komets the Turner Conference regular-season title and set up a best-of-seven rematch with fourth-seeded Rapid City, which ousted Fort Wayne in the playoffs last year.

"Any time you beat a team three games in a row – any team – it's not an easy feat to accomplish," said Chaulk, who is on a nine-game point-scoring streak. "This showed we're able to wear teams down, play together and stay the course."

The Komets got two goals from Bobby Chaumont and one apiece from Chris Auger, Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock and Tom Mele.

Goaltender Nick Boucher stopped 31 of 33 shots and was selected MVP by his teammates.

"I'm pleased definitely. There have been enough guys who came up to me during the year, at one time or another, and just told me they noticed how hard I was playing and it meant a lot coming from the guys," said Boucher, 32-12-4 with a 2.44 goals-against average, a .919 save percentage and three shutouts.

"I'm definitely appreciative of this. It's always an honor when guys on your team recognize you like that."

Click here to see photos from the game.

And click here to see the long-awaited video from Saturday's awesome 2-1 game.

In what was likely his final game at Memorial Coliseum, since the Gems could fold and the Komets could move to the ECHL, Larry Sterling was pulled after giving up six goals on 41 shots.

The player Fort Wayne fans most love to hate classily handed his stick to a young Fort Wayne fan before going to the locker room. His backup, Dan Dunn, stopped all five shots he faced.

"It was important to finish the regular season this way," said Komets alternate captain Brett Smith.

"You obviously want to win every single game, but I think the most important thing is that we competed and worked hard and battled. … Winning three in a three and coming out on top, it's a good way to roll into the playoffs."

Here's who won all the team awards:

MVP: Nick Boucher

Stonewall Defensive Forward: Brett Smith

Defenseman of the Year: Brent Henley/Frankie DeAngelis

Rookie of the Year: Chris Auger

Most Improved Player: Stephon Thorne

Unsung Hero: Brent Henley/Brett Smith

Mr. Hustle: Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock

"True Komet" Award: Colin Chaulk

Gallmeier Community Service: Brent Henley

Turner Conference semifinals

Komets vs. Rapid City

Best of 7

Friday: at Rapid City, 7:05 p.m.

Saturday: at Rapid City, 7:05 p.m.

April 4: vs. Rapid City, 7:30 p.m.

April 5: vs. Rapid City, 7:30 p.m.

April 8: vs. Rapid City, 6 p.m.*

April 10: at Rapid City, 9:35 p.m.*

April 12: vs. Rapid City, 7:30 p.m.*

* If necessary

Radio: 1190 AM

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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