INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – If there’s a player with the Komets who could have probably done without a double-overtime game Thursday, it was center Brett Smith.
He has been battling a neck injury since the opening game of the playoffs, when he was hit into the boards from behind by Rapid City’s Jeff Kyrzakos.
But Smith had missed only one game since – the sixth and final game of that series – totaling three goals, six points and a plus-6 rating in nine playoff games.
He had two assists in the Komets’ 5-4 victory Thursday at the Independence Events Center, which culminated with a Frankie DeAngelis power-play goal and tied the best-of-seven Turner Conference finals with the Missouri Mavericks at two games apiece.
Game 5 was Saturday night in Independence. The teams will play Tuesday at Memorial Coliseum.
Let’s just say I’m (feeling) great and we’ll put a little sarcasm at the end of it, Smith said. But it’s the playoffs and you battle through with whatever you have.
At this time of year, every player in the Komets’ locker room is dealing with some sort of injury, and it is common protocol in hockey to keep those injuries secret so opposing players can’t target them.
But Smith’s injury came in such visible fashion and to such an important player – Smith had 20 goals and 61 points this season – that it was impossible to hide it. Smith is an alternate captain, after captaining Bossier-Shreveport to the CHL championship last season.
Everybody’s got their own little things they’re (dealing with), Smith said. Obviously, mine was broadcasted a little bit more than some of the other guys. Do I have some issues? Sure. But everybody’s got them, and it doesn’t really matter. At the end of the day, you want to win and you do what you have to do to win.
The Komets were without defenseman Bryant Molle on Saturday after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with an apparent knee injury.
(The Mavericks) are going to be coming guns a blazing, but we’re going to be coming guns a blazing, too, Smith said.