CINCINNATI -- Well, I have to say, in 17 years of covering this team, I've been to a lot of different arenas (28, to be exact) and seen a lot of different atmospheres.
Tonight was the worst playoff atmosphere I've seen.
Make sure you check out the video of highlights above.
There were only 1,307 fans. At least they got to see a heckuva game, a 2-1 victory by the Komets, thanks to a Christian Ouellet goal with 7.1 seconds remaining in the opener of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals between the Komets and the Cincinnati Cyclones.
“I tried to keep it on the ice and wanted to go between the legs of the goalie,” Ouellet said. “It hit the skate of the defenseman and then it went in there. It was a lucky goal. But we worked hard on that shift to get the puck there. It’s a great feeling.”
It was so similar to the opening game of the Reading series, when the Komets also trailed early, then won with 8.1 seconds left on a Shawn Szydlowski goal.
“It’s unbelievable,” Komets goaltender Ben Meisner said of Ouellet’s goal. “I had a view of the puck trickling and I thought, ‘Is that going in?’ It crossed the line, the light went on, the guys were screaming and I said something I can’t say right now. I just couldn’t believe it. It’s a credit to our guys. We outworked them and generated a lot. They had some pretty good chances, too, but the guys did a pretty good job of clearing stuff out from in front of me.”
Look at the video above and you will see some incredible goaltending at both ends. You will also see a little of Cincinnati's Wade Megan (No. 61), who was everywhere. I don't know how they only gave him four shots on goal. He was stopped on two breakaways, two wraparounds, and he scored once, and he had some other chances.
Cincinnati is 1-3 at U.S. Bank Arena in the playoffs. Fort Wayne is 2-1 on the road.
The Komets have won all five games here this season and are now 6-1-2 against the Cyclones overall.
The Komets outshot the Cyclones 36-23, led by five shots on goal from Dean Ouellet, who assisted on Embach’s goal.
“We gave up way too many shot opportunities and when you get outshot that significantly, you can’t expect to win hockey games,” Cyclones coach Ben Simon said.
The Komets would like to get the road sweep, which they didn't get in the last round.
“We’re happy, but it’s back at it tomorrow,” Meisner said. “We’ll enjoy it right now, but the second we walk out these doors, it’s about getting ready for tomorrow. We can’t always bank on winning games late like that. But it sure feels good to see guys get rewarded for all the hard work.”