INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – For everyone who thinks that the Komets returning to home ice is a bad thing, coach Al Sims has a message.
I think you guys forget that we only lost eight games at home in the regular season. The best team (Texas) lost seven, Sims said. We had six (overtime/shootout) losses, so obviously that hurt us and hurt our record at home, but we only had nine losses in regulation and we’re very comfortable at home.
We worked 66 games to get the home-ice advantage (in the conference). We beat Dayton three straight at the end of the season to get the home-ice advantage. Now hopefully it’s going to pay dividends.
There’s no denying, though, that the dynamic heading to Memorial Coliseum for Game 6 of the Turner Conference finals is unusual.
The Komets are 2-3 there in the playoffs and 0-2 against Missouri in this series. The Mavericks have won all four of their playoff road games.
The Komets were 19-8-6 at home in the regular season. The Mavericks were 20-10-3 on the road.
The Mavericks won the series opener 3-2 in overtime and Game 2, 6-3.
Missouri coach Scott Hillman believed his team was outplayed in those games. Hillman said that something changed in Independence, where the Mavericks won Game 5, 5-2, Saturday.
We feel we’re building some momentum, Hillman said.
We know that can change going into the Fort Wayne building. We’re going to go in there on a mission. We certainly don’t want to go to a Game 7 in there. That’s pretty obvious.
The Komets averaged a league-best 7,770 fans in the regular season and are averaging 6,009 in the playoffs.
It’s a good feeling for us to still be alive, said Jean-Michel Rizk, who has four of Fort Wayne’s last 10 goals. Coming here, we weren’t sure what was going to happen. We wanted to come here and make sure we got it back to Fort Wayne.
That’s (the positive) we’re taking back, and we’ll make sure we’re ready in the next game.
Teammate Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock agreed.
We came here and did our job, he said. Being down 2-0, if you would have told me we’d take two out of three, I would have been happy. You knew this was going to go six or seven games anyway. We knew that. We’ve just got to outwill them at home now.