Goaltender Tim Hauns statistics with the Komets this season have been impressive: Hes 15-7-2 with the IHLs best goals-against average (2.12), best save percentage (.924) and two shutouts.
Not bad for a guy who was cut by the Komets last season and spent most of the last two seasons playing in the lower-level Southern Professional Hockey League.
What hes done has been a big surprise for everybody, said Komets coach Al Sims, whose team has won 8 of 10 games heading into tonights match at Port Huron, Mich.
We all know Timmy. Being 29 and playing in the Southern Pro league (last season), youre probably thinking, Where did this guy come from and why is he doing this now? But I think some goalies need confidence and need to know they can do it at a certain level. Its a position of confidence. Its like a pitcher in baseball or a quarterback in football; if you believe you can do it, you can do it. Im not saying hes going to play like this the rest of the year, but hes obviously in a groove right now.
The change for Haun, he and Sims agreed, came in November, after incumbent No. 1 Nick Boucher was sidelined for a month with hand injuries. Without another goalie on the active roster, Haun was forced to play 15 consecutive games. Although the Komets went only 8-6-1, he was a bright spot, giving up only 2.4 goals per game, and it boosted his confidence.
When he was forced to be the guy, I told him, This is your chance to show you can be a No. 1, and hes shown it. Im sure any team in the league would love to have him right now, said Sims, adding Haun learned to keep his temper in check after he was suspended seven games in December for a baseball-like swing of the stick toward Port Hurons Derek Patrosso.
Tonight will be the first meeting between the Komets (23-12-2) and Icehawks (27-9-3) since then.
Haun who was 4-2-2 with a 3.04 GAA last season with Fort Wayne, before being reassigned to Huntsville of the SPHL, credited the veteran teammates around him for helping to elevate his play. He has leaned, particularly, on Boucher, who is 8-5-0 with a 2.70 GAA and .914 save percentage.
Its a lot different when you have different guys in the dressing room youre playing with, Haun said. You can always learn from everybody. I just do my job. I worry about me, what I can do and what I bring that to the team. Thats all you can focus on.
And Hauns teammates have done an excellent job of assisting him on the ice. The Komets have the top-ranked defense, giving up 2.43 goals per game.
I think were doing a good job of clearing rebounds, Sims said. (Other teams) are not getting easy second or third chances, and hes doing a great job of making the first save. Hes feeling it and Im sure the puck looks like a saucer to him right now.