FORT WAYNE – The mettle of the Komets has been tested all season long, through the franchise-record 12 trades, myriad injuries and losing streaks.
So they’re not frazzled at the latest threat to their season.
If the Komets lose tonight at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, their season is over.
It seems like all year we’ve gone on the road to cure our problems, forward Chris Auger said. I don’t know why we’re more comfortable doing it there, but we’re looking forward to the challenge of going up there and winning two in their barn. We’ve been winning on the road all year. We’ve been winning in tough environments.
After dropping 2 of 3 games at Memorial Coliseum – all of which went to overtime – the Komets trail the Cyclones 3-2 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals.
Working in the Komets’ favor is that they’ve been so good on the road, going 22-15-3, including 2-2 in the playoffs, and that the Cyclones have been unreliable at home with a 19-17-5 record, including a 2-3 mark in the postseason.
We expected, obviously, before tonight to go there with a 3-2 series lead, Komets captain Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock said, after Jonathan Hazen scored for a 4-3 Cyclones victory Sunday at the Coliseum. But we’re accustomed to playing well on the road. Cincinnati is a good road team. There’s no doubt about it. They played well and deserved that game. But that’s why it’s a seven-game series. There’s nothing to be upset about. We’re going to flush this one down the toilet.
Despite missing the playoffs last year, the Komets aren’t strangers to succeeding in this type of situation.
Since 2008, they have won 10 of the 11 games in which they could have been eliminated from the playoffs.
We’ve been playing desperation hockey for the last couple months. Now this is really it, defenseman Jordon Southorn said. We weren’t in this situation in the last series (against the Reading Royals), but there’s no quitting in this room. Tuesday is going to be a well-fought game. We’re going to come out and throw everything at them and hope for the best.
The Komets have been led in the series by Shawn Szydlowski, who has scored in four straight games. Mike Embach has two goals and two assists. Southorn had the Game 4 overtime winner. Goaltender Ben Meisner has stopped 91.3 percent of the shots he’s faced.
The Cyclones, who lost the series-opening game 4-3 at U.S. Bank Arena and won 5-2 there in Game 2, have been led by Josh Shalla’s four goals. Byron Froese has seven assists. Goalie Rob Madore has stopped 93.5 percent of the shots he’s faced.
If the Komets win tonight, Game 7 would be Wednesday at U.S Bank Arena.
Everyone in here has to realize we’re down 3-2 and it’s playoff hockey, Simon Danis-Pepin said. Anything can happen. We just have to go over there and win the first one. Anything can happen from there.