RAPID CITY, S.D. – The Missouri Mavericks havent played a game since April 2 and had the luxury of taking four days off from even practicing.
The Komets played four brutally physical games in that span against the Rapid City Rush, whom they eliminated from the Turner Conference semifinals with a 4-3 overtime victory Tuesday.
The Komets won the series 4-2.
The Komets are not worried because the Mavericks were able to rest entering the conference finals series, which starts Friday at Memorial Coliseum.
I think our team is pretty high right now, pretty pumped, said Komets coach Al Sims, whose team spent Wednesday making the 1,100-mile trek back from Rapid City. Weve got a lot of adrenaline flowing, and well get them refocused.
The Komets were 1-0-1 against the Mavericks this season.
Fort Wayne went 40-19-7 to clinch the conferences top seed, while the Mavericks finished third at 39-21-6 before sweeping Evansville.
During the season, Fort Wayne traded defenseman Tristin Llewellyn to the Mavericks for goalie Gerry Festa.
Festa is 6-4-0 with the Komets but hasnt played in the postseason. Llewellyn, who had one assist in 11 games with Fort Wayne, has three goals and 14 points since, including one goal and four points in the playoffs.
I think (their time off) is definitely not an advantage, said Mike Vaskivuo, who leads the Komets in playoff scoring with three goals and eight points. Weve been playing hockey for the last two weeks, and were in our groove. It could bite those guys in the butt, you know, too much rest. But I guess well see.
Komets captain Colin Chaulk said both teams will be able to spin the disparity in time off.
Im always the one whos going to be positive. Im going to take the line and say, Were ready. Were game ready. Were battle ready. Were up to speed, Chaulk said. But if Im Missouri, Im saying, Were fresh and weve had time to recover from our bumps and bruises. Weve been scrimmaging and doing battle drills and all that stuff.
But its like Ive always said, its whos willing to go to the tough areas, and whos willing to go in and get their head beat in and come out with the puck.
If youre willing to do it more than the next guy, youre going to get the bounces.
The Komets may still be without center Brett Smith, who missed half of Game 5 and all of Game 6 with a neck injury he suffered on a hit from behind by Jeff Kyrzakos in the playoff opener.
Chaulk led Fort Wayne with three goals and four points against the Mavericks in the regular season. Missouri had four players with two points, including Sebastien Thinel, who was third in the league with 82 points.