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Best of the best
Top games
1. Game 5, Turner Cup Finals, May 15: With a sellout crowd of 10,480 at Memorial Coliseum, the Komets captured their third straight Turner Cup championship with a 3-2 victory over the Flint Generals. Left wing P.C. Drouin had two goals, and left wing Matt Syroczynski, who had one goal, was named Playoff MVP.
2. Game 7, IHL semifinals, May 3: After recovering from a 3-1 series deficit, Fort Wayne dominated with a 4-0 victory over Port Huron. The Komets got three goals in the first 5:11 from Guy Dupuis, Leo Thomas and Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock, and Nick Boucher made 33 saves.
3. Muskegon at Komets, Oct. 31: Fans of old-school hockey loved this 3-1 Komets victory, which included 115 penalty minutes and a brawl that saw Fort Wayne’s Brad MacMillan leave the penalty box and toss a linesman to get at Jason Lawmaster, who had pummeled Konstantin Shafranov. Muskegon’s Robin Big Snake also left the penalty box. MacMillan was suspended 15 games by the IHL. Big Snake got 12 games.
4. Game 4, Turner Cup Finals, May 14: Coach Al Sims shocked seemingly everyone by going with goaltender Tim Haun, instead of Nick Boucher, on the heels of the 7-6 overtime loss. Haun stopped 33 shots, the Komets won 6-2, and a 3-1 series lead put the Turner Cup within Fort Wayne’s grasp once again.
5. Game 3, Turner Cup Finals, May 12: After the Komets won the first two boring games of the Turner Cup Finals, Fort Wayne and Flint played a gripping, back-and-forth, offensively charged game. The Komets lost 7-6 in overtime, thanks to a Jamie Schaafsma goal, but even Fort Wayne fans could appreciate the drama of this tilt at Perani Arena. Top five moments
1. Game 5, IHL semifinals, April 30: Down 3-1 in the best-of-seven semifinals and trailing Port Huron 2-0, goaltender Nick Boucher foiled Derek Patrosso on a breakaway to save the Komets’ season. The Komets won 7-2.
2. Game 6, IHL semifinals, May 1: The Komets thought they had the game won and were headed to Game 7, but then Port Huron’s Mike Kinnie tied the game with 4:13 remaining. Just as all 1,729 fans at McMorran Arena were readying for overtime, defenseman Kevin Bertram threw the puck toward the net and center Leo Thomas redirected it in to make it 4-3 with only 2.1 seconds remaining.
3. Game 5, Turner Cup finals, May 15: Left wing P.C. Drouin faked a shot from the left circle, then flicked a wrist shot past goaltender Rob Nolan. It put the Komets up by three goals and proved to be the Cup-clinching goal in a 3-2 victory over Flint.
4. Komets at Port Huron, Dec. 12: Late in a 2-0 loss, Fort Wayne goaltender Tim Haun lost his cool and took a baseball-like swing of his stick at Derek Patrosso. That set off a melee that included a fight between the goalies, and Haun got a seven-game suspension. It also set the tone for a great rivalry this season.
5. Quad City at Komets, April 11: After a moving pregame ceremony in which Konstantin Shafranov was honored before leaving to play for Kazakhstan in the World Championships, the 41 year old showed, in what was probably his final North America game, why fans love him. Thirteen seconds into the game, Shafranov sent a dazzling backhand pass through a sea of players to set up a Matt Syroczynski goal. He had two assists in the 8-4 victory over Quad City.
Cathie Rowand|
The Komets’ Guy Dupuis, left, P.C. Drouin and Colin Chaulk were three of the veterans who helped the team win a third straight Turner Cup.

Retaining veterans top priority

Hollyn Johnson | The Flint Journal
P.C. Drouin scored twice in Game 5.

We don’t know what league the Komets will play in next season, although they hope an announcement is made this month that new ownership has been found in Flint and the current version of the IHL will go on for a fourth season with six teams.

There are a lot of ifs involved in that, but the feeling within Memorial Coliseum is that the Komets would like to bring back most of the players who helped them to a third consecutive Turner Cup with a five-game final series victory over the Generals.

The Komets went 50-21-5 in the regular season, got the second seed for the postseason, recovered from a 3-1 semifinals deficit against Port Huron and then won the eighth championship in the franchise’s 58-year history.

The first three-peat in franchise history was cemented with a 3-2 victory Saturday in front of 10,480 fans at the Coliseum.

Some players are contemplating retirement, including captain Guy Dupuis, defenseman Kevin Bertram, left wing Konstantin Shafranov and right wing David Hukalo. Also, none of the Komets’ first-year players will retain his rookie status, which is pivotal since teams must dress four rookies every game.

And the IHL is sure to review its rules for fielding veteran players – teams could use seven this season – and possibly alter its salary cap.

“There are changes any year in this business,” Komets general manager David Franke said. “It’s all part of the business, part of the game. The thing I like about this team is we’ve found good, young players to complement our older players. There are a lot of positives with the youth and those youngsters will eventually become our veterans.”

The Komets have six players who are at least 30 years old – Dupuis, Hukalo, Bertram, P.C. Drouin, Colin Chaulk and Tim Haun – plus the 41-year-old Shafranov, who missed the playoffs to skate for Kazakhstan in the World Championships.

By winning seven of their last eight playoff games, though, management found renewed faith in the players’ resiliency and poise.

“Definitely,” coach Al Sims said, when asked whether he wanted to bring back most of his players. “You have to reward certain people who take you there and get it done every year. Believe me, those people will probably be back.”

While Sims is under contract for next season, none of the players is signed. And they are all curious whether the IHL will fold, which could send the Komets to the ECHL, Central Hockey League or higher-level American Hockey League. Another league would bring either an NHL affiliation or rules that mandate more youth, or both.

But the players want to remain together.

“I don’t think we’re always the most talented team,” said Drouin, who led the Komets with 18 points, including five goals, during the playoffs. “But our work ethic and the team spirit we have in the locker room, the chemistry, it makes up for a lot of that. It shows on the ice and it’s shown in us winning the last three championships.”

– Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette