Whereas Komets coach Al Sims opted to keep his goaltending decision mum until the last playoff series opened, rankling some within his own locker room by then giving the Game 1 start to Tim Haun, he has already decided to go with Nick Boucher when the Turner Cup Finals open against Flint, which upset top-seeded Muskegon in the semifinals.
The series begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Coliseum, and the rest of the finals schedule is expected to be announced today.
Boucher getting the nod isnt a surprise, considering the two-time Cup-winning goalie backstopped the Komets to a comeback from a 3-1 series deficit against Port Huron in the semifinals, which culminated with a 33-save shutout and a 4-0 victory Monday night.
This is nothing against Tim Haun. Hes had a great year. He was the goaltender of the year (in the IHL), etc., but Bouch is a little loony. Hes like me, a little loony, and hes just a gamer, center Colin Chaulk said.
Ill take Bouch any day of the week, whether its a shootout, one-on-one, whatever. You cant say enough about him. Hes the best goalie Ive seen at the AA level in a pressure situation. In the regular season, he had a tough year (with injuries), but its obvious that hes back. Well, not that hes back, but that he hasnt skipped a beat from (previous playoffs).
During the postseason, Boucher is 3-2 with a 2.41 goals-against average and .929 save percentage, and he guided the Komets to their second successful comeback from a 3-1 deficit against Port Huron in three years.
From my perspective, there wasnt any panic, Boucher said. I cant speak for the younger guys, but the older guys have all been through this in prior seasons.
We knew we were close, werent playing our best hockey in the first part of the series and had some bad breaks. But everyones a firm believer that you create your own breaks through hard work.
Haun is 1-1 with a 3.03 GAA and .891 save percentage in the playoffs, but he led the IHL in every relevant statistical category during the regular season, so Sims feels confident having him as a backup heading into the finals, should Boucher falter.
No one believes thats going to happen, though, after he stopped 96 of 101 shots in the last three games, including two breakaway saves on Derek Patrosso that safeguarded leads in Games 6 and 7.
The confidence that just goes through the team with (Boucher) is unbelievable, forward Matt Syroczynski said. We know if we do pinch (in offensively), or if we do have a turnover, that hes going to be there. Hes our goalie for the finals and well go from there.
Note: Stan Drulia resigned as Port Hurons coach, after going 161-112-31 over four seasons.