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WICHITA, Kans. -- Winning early has always been a big key to the Komets' attempts to win playoff championships.
During their first 17 appearances in playoff finals, the Komets have gone on to win the title eight of the 10 times when they won the first game of the series. They are 0-7 in series where they lost the first game.
Teams winning Game 1 of the Presidents' Cup Final have gone on to win the championship in 16 of the 19 seasons, but the team that lost Game 1 in each of the last two years has come back to win the cup.
The Thunder have three players that have won a professional championship with defenseman Kevin Young winning the CHL title last season as a member of Bossier-Shreveport. Forward Thomas Beauregard, forward Garrett Bainbridge and defenseman Travis Wight were on Kelly Cup winning teams in the ECHL, Beauregard with Cincinnati in 2008, and Wight and Bainbridge with Idaho in 2007.
Komets with titles include Colin Chaulk with four and Nick Boucher with three, Leo Thomas with two and Frankie DeAngelis, Kaleigh Schrock and Brent Henley with one each, all earned in Fort Wayne. Brett Smith and Jamie Milam also won a CHL title last year with Bossier-Shreveport.
Wichita is looking to become the first team since 2005 to win both the CHL's playoff championship and the regular-season championship in the same season. During the league's 20-year history, seven teams have won both in the same season including the Thunder in 1993-94 and 1994-95.
Of the Komets' eight championships, they won both the regular-season and playoff titles in 1963, 1973, 2003, 2008 and 2009. They finished second during the regular season and won the playoff titles in 1965 and 2010. They were seeded fourth when they won the Turner Cup in 1993. The Komets won the regular-season title and failed to win the playoff championship in 1960, 1984, 1986, 1987, 2004 and 2007.
Teams scoring the first goal of the game have won 24 of the 35 games so far this post-season. Fort Wayne is 7-1 when lighting the lamp first and the Thunder are 2-0. Wichita started the playoffs with nine straight games allowing the opposition to score first but in those games, the Thunder were still able to come back and win six of those.
During the regular season, the Thunder were 26-9-2 when scoring first and 18-10-1 when scored upon first. The Komets were 29-3-4 when finding the back of the net first and 11-16-3 when the opponent scores first.
The Komets only faced Wichita goaltender Adam Russo twice this season, but they have plenty of experience against him from when he played with Port Huron and Quad City. Before this series started, the Komets were 7-5-1 all-time against Russo, who gave up 3.33 goals per game and stopped .903 of the Komets' shots against him.
Wichita has completed an amazing turnaround, reaching the finals in two years after finishing 9-50-5 in 2009-10… Wichita center Aaron Davis played for Al Sims when he coached Fort Worth in the CHL in 2003-04 and 2004-05… The two coaches have played more than 1,000 NHL games combined and have also coached more than 1,000 games combined… Former Komet David-Alexandre Beauregard visited during Game 1, and former Komets goaltending great Kevin St. Pierre will be in attendance for Game 2.