MUSKEGON, Mich. -- The Fort Wayne Komets took care of business early -- they scored three goals on the first six shots -- and they treated it like business as usual after winning 5-1 Saturday night.
In other words, it wasn't the most jubilant locker room I've ever been in, mostly because the Komets felt they could have been playing this way all along.
But they didn't and so we had a more tense series than anyone expected, at least until the Komets won 3-0 on Friday and then whooped up on Muskegon in this one. The Komets won the semifinals series 4-2 and will face the Port Huron Icehawks in the best-of-seven Turner Cup Finals.
That series will begin Friday at Memorial Coliseum, team president Michael Franke said, with the rest of the schedule to be finalized on Monday. You can count on another 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 format though, because of building availabilities.
I can tell you there is some disgruntlement from the Komets' organization that the Coliseum didn't set aside some Saturday night dates for them at this time of year. They've got a point, considering Fort Wayne has missed the postseason only once since 1996. The Komets, and by extension the fans, will pay for the lack of available dates. But I'm sure the Freedom football fans have been happy with the home games.
After dropping the first two road games against the Fury, the Komets dismantled Fury starting goalie Isaac Reichmuth on Saturday. They knew all season long he was weak glove-side and they exploited it, and he was yanked from a third straight start. I'm not sure what Fury coach Bruce Ramsay was thinking starting Reichmuth, after two strong outings by Clayton Pool. But Ramsay did a good job this season with limited talent.
As if Reichmuth doesn't have enough to worry about right now, the Fury's official scorers have him allowing three goals on three shots, even though the unreliable shot clock had six shots on the board when he was yanked. That won't look good on his record.
Speaking of surprise starters, Fort Wayne's Kevin Reiter was solid with 15 saves, one night after Nick Boucher had the 23-save shutout. I was flabbergasted that Boucher didn't start tonight and Fort Wayne coach Al Sims had a grin on his face about the decision before he hopped onto the bus.
By the way, I know some fans wanted to greet the team when it gets back into town. I'm estimating, it'll be back at the Coliseum at about 2 a.m., but, um, don't quote me on it.
Instead of players of the night, here are the players of the series. For Fort Wayne, in order: Mitch Woods, Matt Reynolds, Mathieu Curadeau, Guy Dupuis, Brent Henley, Kevin Bertram, Luciano Aquino. That's right, I think Woods was awesome in this series. For the Fury: Dan Riedel, Jeff Nelson, Dave Van Drunen, Pool, David Herring, Kyle Kos.
The early feelings are that the series with Port Huron will be physical. And by the way, I thought John Searle called a solid game tonight. So that makes two well officiated games in a row.
And how about Sims? A year ago, he was out of a job. Now he's in the finals.
-- By Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette