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Swikar Patel/The Journal Gazette
Missouri goalie Charlie Effinger defends the goal from Fort Wayne's Brett Smith, right, in Game 2 of the Turner Conference finals. The Mavericks lead the series 2-0.

Do you believe? The K's sure do.

Ask the Komets whether they believe they can recover from a 2-0 deficit in the best-of-seven Turner Conference finals, and you will get a resounding "yes."

"Our team believes we can beat this hockey team," Fort Wayne coach Al Sims said.

The Komets, the top seed in the conference, have outshot the third-seeded Missouri Mavericks 82-51 but been outscored 9-5.

(By the way, Ben Smith has this story today on the Komets.)

So why are the Komets down? Forgetting about the controversial penalty shot with 19 seconds remaining in regulation time of Game 1, which propelled the Mavericks to a 3-2 overtime victory at Memorial Coliseum, the Komet contend Mavericks goaltender Charlie Effinger is the sole reason for the deficit.

That and, maybe, some bad luck.

"Their goaltender is playing well, sure, but how many lucky goals have they had?" Komets captain Colin Chaulk said.

The Mavericks have had one goal off a rebound, one off an Ed McGrane penalty shot, one because of a turnover near the net, two on shots from the right boards that all-star goaltender Nick Boucher probably should have stopped and one empty-netter.

That leaves one goal off a rebound (Andrew Courtney), one on blistering shot from the right circle (Patrick Schafer) and one when Brandon Smith won a race to the puck and beat Gerry Festa top-shelf.

Meanwhile, the Komets have had their way offensively, only to be stonewalled by Effinger. The Komets believe that cannot last, even with the next three games – if there are three games – at Independence, Mo., starting Wednesday night.

"We're working for every one we get and it's going to be that much more satisfying when you accomplish what you're setting out to do," Chaulk said.

"Anything you do in life, when you work hard and those endorphins kick in, and you get to the end, you feel good about yourself. I feel good about myself. I feel good about this team right now."

During the regular season, the Komets were the second-best road team in the CHL, going 21-11-1, and they were 2-1 at Rapid City, S.D., in the first round of the playoffs. Of all the playoff teams, Missouri was the worst team at home in the regular season, going 19-11-3, though it was 2-0 in its first-round sweep of Evansville.

Hence, the Komets' confidence and their determination to not change a thing at the 5,800-seat Independence Events Center.

"I don't know why we would change strategy with the scoring chances we're getting," Sims said. "We've got to finish chances around the net. Their goaltender is playing well and that's been the difference in this series so far."

If the Komets had a warning for Effinger, it's that he better be rested because he's going to face an offensive assault.

"We sat back too much (against Rapid City) and promised ourselves we weren't going to sit back in this series or crawl into a shell, and we haven't done that," Chaulk said.

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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