The Komets do not expect Missouri to let up after Fort Wayne forced tonight’s Game 7 of the Turner Conference finals at Memorial Coliseum.
If I’m Missouri, I’m throwing a positive on it and saying, We’ve got one game to go to the finals for the first time in our (three-year) existence,’ Fort Wayne captain Colin Chaulk said. If you’re the Komets, we’re saying, Hey, we worked hard all year for home-ice advantage (in the conference), and now we’re going to try to use it to our advantage.’
The Komets won 4-1 Tuesday to force the 11th Game 7 in the 60-year history of the franchise. They are 7-3 in Game 7s, including 6-2 at the Coliseum.
The Komets have won three Game 7s in a row – in the 2005 UHL semifinals against Rockford, the 2008 IHL finals against Port Huron and the 2010 IHL semifinals against Port Huron.
The Komets completed a comeback from a 3-1 series deficit in all of those games, each of which was at the Coliseum.
After losing the first two games of the this series at the Coliseum, the Komets are vying to become only the sixth team to come back from a 0-2 deficit to win a best-of-seven series out of 59 tries in the history of the CHL/Western Professional Hockey League.
A victory tonight would put the Komets in the playoff finals for the 18th time in franchise history.
To win tonight, the Komets need to:
Score first, something they did for the first time in the series Tuesday. The Komets have scored first in six of 12 playoff games this season, winning five. The Komets want to be focused at the first drop of the puck.
For us it’s just like (Tuesday), coach Al Sims said. It’s not any different, and we have to come in with the same mindset.
Hit often, as they’ve done in all the games except the 5-2 loss in Independence, Mo., in Game 5. On Tuesday, the Komets started their 10th forward, Tom Mele, to get the intensity ramped up.
We wanted to get some energy, and Tommy threw a big hit right away, and it got our team going and got the fans going, Sims said.
Get traffic in front of Mavericks goaltender Charlie Effinger, who has stopped 229 of 247 shots in the series. On Tuesday, all four of the Komets’ goals came off rebounds.
We got a lot of pucks on net and went to the traffic areas and we got rewarded, said Fort Wayne’s Mike Vaskivuo, who has 13 points and is tied for the postseason scoring lead with Missouri’s Ed McGrane and Wichita’s Thomas Beauregard.
Excel on special teams. They have scored on four of 19 power plays in the series and killed off 19 of 24 power plays. The Mavericks’ lone Game 6 goal came on the power play.
Help goaltender Nick Boucher. The Komets blocked a lot of shots Tuesday and Boucher did the rest, stopping 31 of 32 shots. In the Komets’ losses in Games 2 and 5, Boucher gave up seven goals on 39 shots. Gerry Festa replaced Boucher in Game 2.