Tim Haun saw the Quad City Mallards' Patrick Levesque gliding toward the left dasher boards Saturday night, and he knew what was coming. He'd seen fellow Komets goaltender Nick Boucher fall victim to this move the night before, when Levesque won the game by streaking from the left side, tucking the puck between his legs, pulling it back out and whacking it just inside the right post.
Haun wasn't going to let it come to that.
He dove from the comfort of the goal crease and poked the puck away from Levesque, who never had a chance to deke, dazzle or defeat the Komets.
One round later, Fort Wayne' Guy Dupuis wristed the puck past Kyle Jones and the Komets had their 2-1 victory in a game that was meaningless except for one, big thing – Haun showed that he's back in the form that got him Goaltender of the Year honors in the IHL this season.
"As soon as (Levesque) went wide, I knew he was going to try and do something fancy," Haun said. "As soon as you see someone come down that low, you take your chances, knowing that he's probably going to come across the ice. I just wanted to take away that ice."
Haun, who had missed the previous 12 games because of a concussion, erased any belief that he might be left off the playoff roster when the Komets open their Turner Cup semifinals series Thursday against the visiting Port Huron Icehawks. Haun stopped 29 of 30 shots and all three shootout attempts he faced.
"It looks like he got right back up to speed. He was right on it, from the very first save of the game to the last in the shootout. Timmy's definitely back mentally and physically, looked good," said Fort Wayne coach Al Sims, who declined to say whether he'll go with Haun or Boucher, who has backstopped the Komets to back-to-back Turner Cups, when the playoffs open.
First, the Komets must close out the regular season with a game today against the Flint Generals, who are tied with Bloomington for the fourth and final playoff spot. The Komets may have incentive to win, though, since Flint has given them more trouble than anyone this season. The Generals are 6-3-2 against the Komets, who would love to see Flint's offseason begin tonight. Bloomington plays at Port Huron.