Its the best of times for the Komets, particularly goaltender Tim Haun.
And it really, truly is the worst of times for the Flint Generals.
Haun stopped 38 shots Friday night and got his second consecutive shutout in a 3-0 victory over the Generals at Memorial Coliseum. Despite having a slew of good opportunities, the Generals went a fourth straight game without scoring a goal, unprecedented in that franchises history.
Theres been a lot of hard work around here in practice, and guys have been giving it their all, said Haun, whose third-place Komets are 21-11-2 and on a 6-0-1 run. As a team, were all just starting to turn things around. Night in and night out, you just battle, and things are coming together.
Haun, who spent most of last season in the lower-level Southern Professional Hockey League, wasnt a shoo-in to make the Fort Wayne roster when training camp opened. Yet hes morphed into one of the leagues top netminders and a legitimate candidate for IHL MVP honors. He leads the league in goals-against average (2.08) and save percentage (.925), and is second in victories (14) and shutouts (two).
You can always learn from everybody. Thats a philosophy Ive learned. Ive played with three different goalies this season, and thats helped, Haun said, referencing Nick Boucher, former NHLer Parris Duffus and Tyler Sims. Parris played at the highest level you possibly can, and Bouch has won two championships here. I take advantage of that. I talk to those guys about situations that come up during the game. They come out before practice, and we do little things that really help during the games.
Haun hasnt allowed a goal in 127 minutes, 54 seconds. That included the final four minutes of Fridays game, in which Flint pulled goalie Rob Nolan for an extra attacker on back-to-back power plays, in front of 7,741 fans.
(Hauns) focus has been a lot better the last two or three weeks, since he came back from the suspension, Komets coach Al Sims said of Hauns seven-game league punishment for slashing Port Hurons Derek Patrosso. Hes focused on stopping the puck and thats it. Hes not getting involved in any extracurriculars with players. Hes just really focused on getting the job done, and its really helped him.
Hauns offensive help Friday came from forwards Matt Syroczynski, P.C. Drouin and Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock.
It was Syroczynskis first game since being returned by Norfolk of the American Hockey League; he has six goals and nine points in six games.
The last-place Generals (11-21-5) have gone 254:34 without scoring a goal. The IHL could not confirm whether that is a record.
They had some great opportunities, but theyre snakebit, Sims said. And theyve got some guys who can put the puck in the net. I know their struggles; weve gone through (similar things) for most of the year.
Notes: Tyler Sims, the son of Al Sims, has been signed by Binghamton of the higher-level AHL. Tyler Sims never made it into a game with Fort Wayne, despite spending a month as an emergency backup. Drouin and his wife, Michelle, had their second child, Noah. There was a moment of silence for longtime fan Mike Nichols, who died Saturday after a long battle with cancer. He was close friends with Komets captain Guy Dupuis.