FORT WAYNE – So the Komets are done like dinner, right? Down two games in the best-of-seven Turner Conference finals, heading on the road for three straight games at Independence, Mo., surely Fort Wayne’s chances are slim-to-none, right?
Not in the opinion of the Komets’ captain, Colin Chaulk, who had some tough talk Saturday night, even after Fort Wayne lost 6-3 to the Missouri Mavericks in Game 2 at Memorial Coliseum.
“It sounds funny, but I think we’ve got them right where we want them,” Chaulk said.
“You can only hide for so long until somebody finally finds you. They’re hiding and we’re going to find them. I believe that. I believe we’re going to stick together and we’re going to go at them, and at them, and at them, and no matter what happens, at the end of the day, we’re going to be happy with ourselves.”
How exactly are the Mavericks, who won the opener 3-2 in overtime, hiding?
“They’re not going after the puck,” Chaulk said. “Anybody can sit there and watch this game and realize we are constantly coming at them in waves, coming at them with everything we’ve got. Yeah, it wasn’t enough tonight. So you better get some rest here and come at them with some more in the next game.”
The Komets outshot the Mavericks 42-24 Saturday, after outshooting them 40-27 in Game 1.
It didn’t help matters that Missouri goalie Charlie Effinger was amazing.
“I thought he played really well,” Fort Wayne coach Al Sims said. “He was definitely the difference.”
And it didn’t help that the Komets’ goaltending was poor.
Nick Boucher gave up goals off a rebound to John-Scott Dickson and from the right boards to Andrew Courtney, when Boucher was slow to get back in position after Ed McGrane missed the net on a penalty shot.
Boucher was yanked, having stopped only 5 of 7 shots, and Gerry Festa went on to stop 13 of 16.
Meanwhile, the Komets’ offense, which produced all those shots, can’t seem to capitalize. During the regular season, the Komets averaged 3.45 goals per game. They had a whopping six players with 20 or more goals. And in the first round, they averaged 3.17 goals per game against a stingy Rapid City Rush team.
The Komets have scored only five goals in the conference finals, though, and Jamie Lovell was the only player to score for them in the first two periods Saturday.
After the Mavericks went up 4-1 on another Courtney goal, the Komets made things close with goals from Bobby Chaumont and Chris Auger, but then things quickly went awry and 6,791 fans went home disappointed.