The Flint Generals can gloat all they want -- and they did plenty as they skated off the ice Sunday -- but I fail to see why this was so significant.
It was a 3-2 victory for the Flint Generals, thanks to a Jason Cirone goal in overtime, but there's one reason the Generals won: goaltender Eric Marvin. He was stupendous in this game.
It ended the Komets' winning streak at 11 games. Snapped their home winning streak at 25. But the Komets went 22-0-2 in their last 24 regular-season games, including 2-0-1 in three straight games to finish the season against Flint, and this was reason to talk trash to fans while coming off the ice?
Cirone got his goal on a power play, after Fort Wayne's Kevin Bertram coughed up the puck at the offensive blue line and then had to haul down Michel Beausoliel to prevent a goal.
After the game, the Fort Wayne locker room was nonchalant, to say the least. Most said they couldn't have cared less about the loss. Others said if anything, it was a positive because it reminded them they aren't infallible.
I'm sure the spin out of Flint will be this: "You see, the Komets are beatable." Well, if anyone had doubted that, they weren't paying attention. Most of the Komets' games have been decided by one or two goals.
But the Komets still put together one of the best regular seasons in hockey history with 56 wins and 120 points. Six teams in the league or not, that was impressive. I wouldn't bet against them.
In other news, center Colin Chaulk was selected as the Komets' MVP after voting by the players. He took the same honor in 2004 and 2006. Interestingly, teammate Guy Dupuis was the runner-up for the league-wide MVP award behind Kalamazoo's Kory Karlander.
I'm not particularly surprised, though I think Dupuis is the MVP. I know some have pushed P.C. Drouin for this award, but from the players' perspectives, they probably wanted to reward someone who's been here the entire season and has impacted both ends of the ice a lot. Still, to me, that's Dupuis, but Chaulk's deserving, too.
The rest of the awards were voted on by reporters and front-office personnel.
Luciano Aquino won Rookie of the Year. Guy Dupuis took Defenseman of the Year. David Hukalo won the Stonewall Defensive Forward honor. Jake Pence won Most Improved Player. Kevin Bertram took the Unsung Hero Award. Mitch Woods won the Mr. Hustle trophy. Chaulk got the "True Komet" award for team spirit and positive attitude.
The News-Sentinel's community service award went to Pence and Olivier Legault.
- Looking for someone to blame for today's loss? How about the tandem of Evgeny Saidachev, who didn't play, and assistant equipment manager Andy Desmonds. Last week, I wrote about how the Komets hadn't lost with Desmonds wearing a lucky hat he kept nabbing from Saidachev's locker. Well, Saidachev didn't bring the cap. Desmonds didn't wear the cap. And the Komets lost.
- The first-round schedule between the Komets and the Fury has yet to be finalized, Komets president Michael Franke said, but we do know this much: Game 1 will be Friday at the Coliseum at 8 p.m., Game 2 will be at Muskegon, Mich., Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Game 3 will be Sunday at the Coliseum at 6 p.m. (Note, that's later than the usual Sunday game.) You can count on a 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 format, mostly because of conflicts at both arenas. That'll be brutal for anyone, including myself, who will be attending all the games. (Some other outlets are releasing "tentative" schedules. Don't trust them because it could change beyond Game 3.)
- I'd like to thank the academy ... I've been awarded a Dickie by The Flint Journal. Sweet. Although, I would point out comments are great, but readership is even more important. Luckily, Ice Chips gets plenty of both. And, by the way, Savage Thoughts is a pretty entertaining blog, too, especially when he rags on everything Fort Wayne. Although, Brendan, best addition? Uh, I think P.C. Drouin might have been slightly more significant than Justin Depretis, but that's just my opinion.
-- By Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette