For a brief period last week, Komets coach Al Sims got to see how the other 90 percent live.
His goaltending let him down.
A couple of soft goals slipped past the usually peerless Nick Boucher early in a 4-1 home loss to Port Huron, prompting Sims to yank Boucher for Tim Haun and create a minor stir in which the words goaltending controversy might have been whispered in some circles.
There isn’t one, really. There was only a forceful reminder of just how vital goaltending is to everyone, especially a team that doesn’t always score a lot. The Komets rank fourth in the league in scoring with 3.16 goals per game, and, going into Wednesday’s 4-1 win at Quad City, had scored just seven goals in their previous three games.
If we don’t get goaltending, we’re gonna have trouble winning, there’s no doubt about it, Sims says. I think our goaltending let us down, obviously, in those two home losses. We didn’t get the goaltending we usually get.
The goaltending they usually get, of course, is the best in the IHL.
Going into this week, Boucher, who’s backstopped two straight Turner Cup champs in Fort Wayne, ranked third in the league with a 2.52 goals-against and an 11-7-1 record in 21 starts.
Back between the pipes Wednesday, he was back to his efficient self, turning away 26 of the 27 shots he faced and shutting out the Mallards for the last 55 1/2 minutes of play.
That pales only in comparison to Haun, who ranks first in the league in goals-against (2.21), second in wins (19) and has three shootout wins in five attempts.
Haun’s emergence, Sims admits, has given him a luxury not many have at this or any level.
Tim came in last year and was just a fill-in for us, Sims says. But he really works at his game, and he’s got himself to a place where he’s the top goaltender in this league. And I know he wants to stay there and be a big part of the team in the stretch run and the playoffs.
We’ve got confidence in Bouch, Sims says. We’ve had a relationship for two years now, and he’s won two championships for me. So there’s a lot of loyalty there and trust with Bouch, and we’re building that with Tim as well. Now any night Bouch or Tim can pretty much do the same job for us.
Our goaltenders have been 1 and 2 or 1 and 3 most of the year, and that’s the way we need them to play consistently in order to go on a winning streak, Sims says.