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The Journal Gazette

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Komets players celebrate after beating Cincinnati in double overtime with over 70 shots in the game during the opening of the Kelly Cup playoffs Saturday night. Game 2 will be at 6 p.m. today at the Coliseum.

Sunday, April 15, 2018 12:50 am

Komets loving Game 1 victory

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

There was as much praise in the Komets’ locker room for rookie Kevin McKernan as there was for captain Jamie Schaafsma, whose double overtime goal cemented the Komets’ 4-3 victory in Game 1 over the Cincinnati Cyclones.

I’ll let Schaafsma explain: “We had a lot of traffic around the net and (McKernan) made a great play passing it backdoor to (Gabriel Desjardins). I was behind him too, but he passed it to Desi and their goalie made a save on Desi. Unfortunately for him, it bounced right on to my tape.”

As Schaafsma was shooting the puck, he could see one of the referees signaling no-goal on Desjardins’ shot. Schaafsma, who had missed 17 of the previous 21 games with a lower-body injury, wanted to make sure there would be no doubt.

“I saw a lot of net. It was pretty easy to put that one in,” he said.

Here’s what coach Gary Graham said about McKernan: “What an unbelievable play by a rookie to get that puck onto the side of the net. They’re such a good shot-blocking team and he just kind of hesitated … and put it to an area where we had two guys waiting for it.”

The Komets are ecstatic – and they should be – on a night when they peppered the net with 72 shots, hit a few posts, endured a goal after the puck popped wildly off the boards and lost yet another star, Justin Hodgman, to injury on a Dominic Zombo hit.

“We were down to eight forwards sometimes in the third period and in overtime and our pace didn’t diminish, and that was what stood out to me,” Komets coach Gary Graham said. “Our pace didn’t slow down when we were down guys in our lineup and that said a lot to me.”

I said it before and I’ll keep saying it: This will not be a low-scoring series, not with the way special teams is a factor with these teams.

“We’ve got the personnel here on the special teams to be very good on it in the playoffs,” Schaafsma said. “I think it’s something we’ll continue to work at but we did a great job. We had some great kills and I’m proud of the boys tonight.”

Game 2 is at 6 p.m. today.

Video highlights from the game are above.