Poor special teams costly for PrairieThunder

2011-04-04T20:08:00Z 2011-04-05T20:23:34Z Poor special teams costly for PrairieThunderBy Mike Egenes | megenes@pantagraph.com pantagraph.com

BLOOMINGTON — The Bloomington PrairieThunder spent two hours Monday reviewing the queasy details of losing back-to-back playoff games on home ice over the weekend.

But one simple fact is giving the PrairieThunder hope as it heads to Fort Wayne for Wednesday’s Game 3 in the best-of-5 Turner Conference quarterfinals.

“We still haven’t given up a 5-on-5 goal,” Coach Jason Christie said. “We’re just not creating breaks for ourselves. If we get back to doing that, we’ll be OK.”

The Komets have zoomed to a 2-0 series lead by scoring five power-play goals, one short-handed and two empty-netters to outscore Bloomington 8-3 in the first two games.

“We need someone to take the bull by the horns here to get those ugly goals,” Christie said. “Look at their goals — there’s nothing fancy there. It’s playoff hockey; fancy’s out. You have to grind it out.”

Fort Wayne had the second-worst road power play during the Central Hockey League regular season. But the Komets converted on five of 11 opportunities over the weekend at U.S. Cellular Coliseum.

“Specialty units are so big, and we worked so hard on it,” Fort Wayne Coach Al Sims said. “We got good bounces and were fortunate to put the puck in the net.”

And that’s what it comes down to, said PrairieThunder forward Travis Granbois.

“We’ve had our chances. We’re just not getting bounces,” he said. “Before they would trickle in, but now they’re not. But we still have a chance in the series. It’s not over yet.”

The PrairieThunder was the only team in the league with a worse power play on the road than Fort Wayne.

Overall, Bloomington converted just once in 12 opportunities over the weekend and has just five goals in its last 51 man-advantages.

“Special teams has hurt Bloomington more than anything,” Sims said.

Games 1 and 2 drew a combined 3,586 to U.S. Cellular Coliseum; Fort Wayne is expecting a crowd of 6,500 for Game 3.

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