PORT HURON, Mich. -- The Komets were handled easily by the Port Huron Icehawks, who won 5-1 in Game 4 of the Turner Cup Finals.
That means by this time tomorrow, the Icehawks could be hoisting the Cup on Memorial Coliseum ice. So will they? Well, this won't be popular, but I think they will.
Coming off the ice, sitting at the lockers, talking, the Komets didn't have the look or the sound of a team that had much belief it could come back. Sorry, but that's the way it seemed in there, which was quite different from the never-say-die attitude they fed me a couple days earlier.
However, I could just be giving you some reverse psychology here, and wouldn't that be wily of me to get your team going? After all, Journal Gazette columnist Ben Smith reminds me that in 2005, the Komets had the same postgame tone about them in the semifinals, and they came back to win three straight against Rockford. And the likes of Colin Chaulk, P.C. Drouin and David Hukalo, key figures in that 2005 comeback, are still on this team.
This is all about heart. Some guys, no doubt, may start thinking, "Hey, I don't really want to get on the bus for another road trip." Others know that being part of arguably the biggest disappointment in Fort Wayne sports history would be a dubious honor of which they want no part.
All I can tell you for sure is the Komets stunk up the joint tonight. They looked good very early but they coughed up the puck, missed defensive assignments, couldn't shoot into a wide-open net and I don't think I saw a decent hit all game. The third period should have been very telling; instead it coasted by with the Komets not sending much of a message by being physical. Were I a fan, I would find that particularly worrisome, especially from a team that claimed to have so much toughness.
To their credit, I heard Port Huron players not taking the Komets lightly going into Game 5. One said, "Let's get it done." Another, "They (the Komets) won't go down easy."
The Komets have been all about challenging themselves this season, even as they were dominating the regular-season standings. Now they have to meet their greatest challenge. But this dispiriting loss may have taken the life out of them. At least that's what their faces and their words said.
But actions speak louder than words. And only the Komets' actions will determine if this series goes more than one game.
- Speaking of Smith -- he keeps going on and on about the Komets. Do me a favor, bookmark the guy.
-- By Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette