INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Anyone who thought the Komets should have moved on from Colin Chaulk after last season -- and I can't believe there were those who thought that -- better be paying close attention to this series.
He spoke so confidentally after the Komets lost the first two games of the Turner Conference finals, even I thought he might have gone too far.
But Chaulk played physically and set the tone for his team, which delivered a 3-1 victory at the Independence Events Center tonight.
Jean-Michel Rizk scored twice. Goalie Nick Boucher was stunning, stopping 31 of 32 shots. And the Komets trimmed the Mavericks' lead in the best-of-seven series to 2-1 with Game 4 coming here Thursday night.
Chaulk, who has helped the Komets to four championships, wasn't concerned about talking his team up so much.
"Not at all," Chaulk said. "Hey, they played a great game today and we played a great game today. We didn't start the way we wanted, but hey, we believe we're back in it."
Chaulk was embroiled in an interesting situation late in the game, when the Mavericks asked referee Peter Tarnaris to inspect Chaulk's gloves. He got a warning for playing with illegal gloves and changed them.
Chaulk wouldn't comment on the situation, but were I a betting man, I'd guess former Komet Tristin Llewellyn tipped them off to something. That's just a guess, though. And I would also guess that former Maverick Gerry Festa could inform the Komets about some illegal sticks on the opposing bench. This could get interesting.
So what was Rizk's secret to solving Charlie Effinger, the Mavericks' goalie who has been so good in the series?
"Just shoot the puck, I guess," Rizk said. "Those two shots, I don't think he saw them. On those goals, Schrock and (Stephon Thorne) were in front and I think that's the secret – we have to take his vision away."
I still have to wonder why Tom Mele is getting so little playing time. But you can't argue with the results tonight, though it was a nail-biter.
The most impressive thing about the game was how well the Komets clogged up the neutral zone once they had the 2-1 lead.