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 isn’t 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. He’s had a great year. He was the goaltender of the year (in the IHL), etc., but Bouch is a little loony. He’s like me, a little loony, and he’s just a gamer, center Colin Chaulk said.
I’ll take Bouch any day of the week, whether it’s a shootout, one-on-one, whatever. You can’t say enough about him. He’s the best goalie I’ve seen at the AA level in a pressure situation. In the regular season, he had a tough year (with injuries), but it’s obvious that he’s back. Well, not that he’s back, but that he hasn’t 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 wasn’t any panic, Boucher said. I can’t speak for the younger guys, but the older guys have all been through this in prior seasons.
We knew we were close, weren’t playing our best hockey in the first part of the series and had some bad breaks. But everyone’s 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 that’s 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 he’s going to be there. He’s our goalie for the finals and we’ll go from there.
Note: Stan Drulia resigned as Port Huron’s coach, after going 161-112-31 over four seasons.