Fort Wayne: 3.45 goals per game, 3rd in CHL; 3.17 in playoffs, 3rd
Missouri: 3.38 goals per game, 5th in CHL; 4.00 in playoffs, 1st
Fort Wayne: 2.83 goals against per game; 5th in CHL; 3.00 in playoffs, 5th
Missouri: 3.03 goals against per game, 7th in CHL; 1.50 in playoffs, 1st
Fort Wayne: 19.7 percent, 2nd in CHL; 14.3 in playoffs, 6th
Missouri: 21.0, 1st in CHL; 21.4 in playoffs, 3rd
Fort Wayne: 84.2 percent, 3rd in CHL; 75.0 in playoffs, 7th
Missouri: 82.1 percent, 9th in CHL; 100.0 in playoffs, 1st
Fort Wayne: 19.2 minutes per game, 4th in CHL; 16.0 in playoffs, 2nd
Missouri: 15.88 minutes per game, 7th in CHL; 6.25 in playoffs, 8th
Komets’ checking line vs. Missouri defensemen
The Komets get their energy from the Redrum Line of Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock, Stephon Thorne and Jean-Michel Rizk.
That line, named because it wears red in practices and likes to, as Schrock said, murder opponents, brings speed in chasing pucks and thrives on hitting opponent in the corners.
If the Mavericks’ defensemen aren’t able to get the puck out of the corners quickly, the Komets’ checking line will be able to set up some ugly goals and sap the energy of a Mavericks team that hasn’t played since April 2.
The Komets last played Tuesday, when they completed their six-game victory over Rapid City, so fatigue could be a factor in the Turner Conference finals. The Komets’ best hope to equalize that will be to bruise and batter the Mavericks’ inexperienced blue-liners.
The Mavericks lean on Cole Ruwe and David Simoes for veteran presence. Dave Pszenyczny handles the puck well and had 36 points in the regular season.
But there’s inconsistency; the Mavericks’ leading-scoring defenseman in the first-round sweep of Evansville was Tristin Llewellyn with four points. He couldn’t crack Fort Wayne’s lineup and was traded this season for goalie Gerry Festa.
Against Rapid City, Schrock, Rizk and Thorne had five goals, 10 points and countless hits. Not bad for the third line.
Other showdowns to watch
Colin Chaulk vs. Sebastien Thinel
With Brett Smith questionable to play because of a neck injury, the pressure on Chaulk is greater than usual. He had three goals and four points against Rapid City. But his defense will be crucial against Thinel, who was third in scoring during the regular season with 23 goals and 82 points. Thinel had four goals and seven points against the IceMen.
Brent Henley vs. Andrew Courtney
The 6-foot-7, 250-pound Henley is the Komets’ most intimidating physical presence. But Courtney, the Mavericks’ 6-foot-3 forward, is no slouch either. Courtney gets a lot of opportunistic goals – he scored 29 times during the regular season – and Henley is going to be relied on to help buckle down on him in front of the net.
Prediction: Komets in seven
Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette