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Komets

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Laura J. Gardner | The Journal Gazette
Fort Wayne’s Mathieu Curadeau is hoping to bounce back from a tough season in the series against Rapid City.

Komets vs. Rapid City

Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
How the play of Komets veteran Colin Chaulk matches up against that of Rapid City forward Ryan Manei is expected to be vital.

Breakdown

Offense

Rapid City: 3.18 goals per game in regular season, 9th in CHL; 4.00 in playoffs, 4th

Fort Wayne: 2.83 goals per game in regular season, 16th in CHL; 4.67 in playoffs, 1st

Defense

Rapid City: 3.03 goals against per game in regular season, 7th in CHL; 2.67 in playoffs, 7th

Fort Wayne: 3.09 goals against per game in regular season, 8th in CHL; 2.00 in playoffs, 3rd

Power play

Rapid City: 17.1 percent in regular season, 10th in CHL; 38.5 percent in playoffs, 1st

Fort Wayne: 18.4 percent in regular season, 6th in CHL; 31.3 percent in playoffs, 2nd

Penalty kill

Rapid City: 80.6 percent in regular season, 16th in CHL; 75 percent in playoffs, 12th

Fort Wayne: 83 percent in regular season, 8th in CHL; 93.8 percent in playoffs, 4th

Penalty minutes

Rapid City: 19.47 minutes in regular season, 7th in CHL; 11.33 in playoffs, 13th

Fort Wayne: 20.48 per game in regular season, 3rd in CHL; 12.67 in playoffs, 10th

Advantages

Forwards: Rapid City

Defensemen: Rapid City

Goalies: Komets

Coaching: Komets

Special teams: Komets

Key matchup

Komets forward Mathieu Curadeau vs. Rapid City forward Scott Wray

Special teams keyed the Komets to their first-round sweep of the Bloomington PrairieThunder, and no player factored more into that than right wing Mathieu Curadeau.

He had four goals and eight points in the series, with one goal and three assists on the power play, plus two short-handed goals.

After his subpar regular season, in which he totaled only 14 goals, 33 points and a team-worst minus-24 rating, Curadeau’s been particularly driven to redeem himself in the playoffs.

Wray is a similar player in that he has a knack for scoring big goals – he has 103 over the last four seasons – and he’s a special-teams ace, too. In the regular season, he had six goals and 12 points on the power play and two short-handed goals.

In the Rush’s first-round sweep of Dayton, it was deadly on the power play (38.5 percent) and poor on kills (75 percent), while the Komets were 31.3 percent and 93.8 percent, respectively. Wray had a power-play goal and assist against the Gems, so the advantage on paper, right now, seems to go to Curadeau.

Other Showdowns To Watch

Komets forward Danny Lapointe vs. Rapid City defenseman Vladimir Hartinger

Lapointe has been a defensive specialist for the Komets, winning faceoffs and blocking shots.

Hartinger has a rocketing shot from the point; he had 10 goals off 93 shots in 45 games. If he effectively gets blasts on the Fort Wayne net, especially on the power play, it could set up rebound goals for the Rush. Lapointe will have to buckle down on the perimeter to limit this sort of attack.

Lapointe can be opportunistic offensively – he has seven goals and 17 points in 37 games with Fort Wayne – while Hartinger can get caught. Look for the transition game to factor in for Fort Wayne.

Komets forward Colin Chaulk vs. Rapid City forward Ryan Menei

Menei is one of the most opportunistic forwards in the CHL. His 39 goals ranked fourth in the league during the regular season, and his scoring percentage of 17.8 ranked 18th.

Chaulk loves the challenge of going up against players like that by hounding them all over the ice, stealing the puck and breaking off on a rush. He had 10 goals and 40 points in 39 games.

He’ll have to mark a lot of great players in this series, but shutting down Menei could be the key.

Prediction

Rush in five games

jcohn@jg.net

– Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette

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