When training camp opened, it was uncertain whether Tim Haun would even have a spot on the Komets roster.
He had performed well in a short stint as an injury replacement with Fort Wayne last season, earning IHL Goaltender of the Month honors in December 2008, but he was released, ignored by other teams in the league and wound up in the lower-level Southern Professional Hockey League.
Hauns second chance with Fort Wayne couldnt have gone much better.
He beat out Tyler Sims for the job as backup to Nick Boucher in training camp. Then he played well enough in two early starts that when Boucher suffered a hand injury that would keep him out more than a month, the Komets opted not to sign another goaltender to the active roster.
The Komets pinned all of their goaltending hopes to Haun, and he hasnt disappointed.
Haun has started 14 consecutive games since Nov. 5, going 8-5-1. Only twice during that grueling stretch has he allowed more than three goals.
I definitely feel like Ive shown that I can play in this league, said Haun, who is 9-6-0 overall, with a 2.46 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage. The guys respond well to me, and Ive kept us in every game. Thats what I wanted to accomplish, and the guys have helped me out by blocking shots and playing great defense. I feel like Ive done what I wanted to do.
Haun, 29, doesnt shy away from seeking tips from Boucher, who should be back in the lineup next week. He also doesnt mind the workload. Four times, he has played three games in as many nights for the Komets.
The key to getting through the physical and mental fatigue of that, Haun said, has been not thinking about the next game.
You just take things one period at a time, so when youre in that game, in that moment, thats all your thinking about, Haun said. Thats how I deal with all this – one moment at a time.
Last season, Haun was 4-2-2 with a 3.04 GAA for Fort Wayne. And with Huntsville of the SPHL, he went 15-7-2 with a 2.62 GAA.
The IHL is stocked with accomplished goaltenders, such as former NHLer Sebastien Centomo of Muskegon and Port Hurons Larry Sterling, but Haun has looked anything but out of place.
Hes tied with Centomo for the IHL lead in victories, his GAA ranks fourth and his save percentage ranks seventh.
Its been fun, Haun said. Its been a great opportunity, and Im having lots of fun with it. Youve just got to do your best every night and go from there.
The defending-champion Komets (12-7-1), however, have won only one of their last four games and are coming off Wednesdays 4-2 loss to Port Huron (13-6-1), which they meet again in a road game tonight at McMorran Arena.
We left it all out there and did everything we could to try and win that game (Wednesday), said Komets coach Al Sims, whose team outshot the Icehawks 42-23.
We can win in Port Huron. We have done it before.