WICHITA, Kan. – Remember those worries about the Komets fighting fatigue, travel and having only one day off after a grueling Game 7 in the Turner Conference finals?
They were all for naught.
The Komets emerged victorious in both games at Wichita – they won Game 2 of the President's Cup finals 6-3 at the Intrust Bank Arena on Sunday – and grabbed a 2-0 lead over the regular-season champion Thunder in the best-of-seven series.
"It's the scariest situation to be in, but I love it," said Fort Wayne coach Al Sims, before getting on the bus for Fort Wayne, where the Komets will play Games 3, 4 and 5 – if there is a fifth game – starting Thursday night.
It's scary because the Komets know well that a 2-0 lead can be tenuous. In the Turner Conference finals, they dropped the first two games at home and then won the series over the Missouri Mavericks.
"I'll take this situation, though," Sims said.
Unlike the tight 5-3 victory in Game 1 on Saturday, Sunday's game between the top two teams from the regular season was lopsided and even saw Wichita goalie Adam Russo get yanked after allowing four goals on 20 shots. His replacement, Bryan Hogan, allowed two goals on 11 shots.
The game started with two wacky first-period goals. After a scrum to the left of the Fort Wayne net, Wichita's Kevin Seibel chipped the puck in the air and it rolled down the back of goaltender Nick Boucher and in at 9:40.
After Russo got caught way out of position, center Jean-Michel Rizk tied it at 12:53, though the net was dislodged by a Thunder player before the puck entered. It was at referee Marc-Andre Lavoie's discretion to allow it, anyway.
Rookie defenseman Daniel Maggio scored his first professional goal, in his 12th game, with a shot from the blue line after center Colin Chaulk won a faceoff 7:36 into the second period.
"It felt great," Maggio said. "All I was trying to do was put the shot on net and the puck had eyes and went into the back of the net. It felt good."
Forwards Chris Auger and Mike Vaskivuo both scored off rebounds in the second period to make it 4-1 and end Russo's night.
After a goal by Wichita's Chris Chappell in the second period, Auger and Bobby Chaumont scored 14 seconds apart in the third period to seal the win.
In the two games here, Auger had four goals and an assist, Vaskivuo had one goal and four assists, and Chaulk had five assists.
"It's a great feeling," Auger said. "We came in an executed our game plan perfectly tonight. I thought we were better prepared and knew what we were doing from (Game 1). It was really gritty. It wasn't entertaining hockey. We chipped away. We got a couple nice goals but a lot of ugly ones."
Boucher stopped 27 of 30 shots for the Komets.