WICHITA, Kan. -- After winning the opening game of the President's Cup Finals 5-3, there were several things in particular the Komets talked about Saturday night:
- They weren't happy they, again, coughed up a lead. But they've come to accept they are at their best when the chips are down.
- The players were thankful to goaltender Nick Boucher for making 30 saves, particularly those four saves from point-blank range early in the third period when it was tied at 3.
- After going into the third period of Game 7 on Thursday -- they won that 6-4 against Missouri -- they were confident they would do the same.
- They didn't feel that having only one day off, and the travel, was a disadvantage, even though the Wichita Thunder hadn't played since Monday. Like in the last series, the Komets feel they are in a groove and it's better than being rested.
- However, Boucher knew he was going to have to save his teammates at some point and probably will, again, in Game 2, because of fatigue.
- Lack of familiarity with Wichita -- the teams met twice in the regular season -- wasn't an issue.
- The Komets said they need to cut down on their turnovers because Wichita will jump on those very well.
- The ice is small, but not small like it was in, say, Port Huron, Mich. The issue with that is behind the net in the offensive zone, where the Komets like to set up shop, they said.
- Winning at least one of the first two games was huge because they didn't want to fall behind like they did in the last two series. (I will add here that the Komets really let up in Game 5 of the last series after winning two in a row on the road, so they better be careful now.)
Coach Al Sims: "I told the guys after the second period, 'We're all down but we're tied with the best team in our league after two periods on the road. And we just played two nights ago.' And besides that, we (were) 5-0 in the playoffs when we (were) tied after the second period. We've never lost. And I said, 'Go out there and do the same thing you did to Missouri in the third period the other night and the game will be ours.'"
Captain Colin Chaulk: "We don't make it easy on ourselves, and I don't know what our problem is. Let's just play our strengths, get the puck down low and hold the puck, try to have a lot of offensive-possession time. … Let's grind it out and we believe that's championship hockey. When we get away from that, we're an average team and you saw glimpses of that tonight."
Forward Chris Auger, who had the game-winning goal: "It was a draining game, for sure. I thought we played well in spurts. But, again, we sat back after we got the lead and made mistakes by being tentative and not being aggressive."