FORT WAYNE – Komets coach Al Sims thinks goaltender Nick Boucher is playing some of the best hockey of his 4 1/2 seasons with the team.
Thats high praise considering Boucher led the Komets to titles in 2008, 2009 and 2010 in the IHL.
Hes been playing outstanding, Sims said. Hes been seeing the puck well. Im sure it looks like a saucer to him right now. Hes just confident and looks big in the net. Nobody can get anything by him.
The Komets (13-7-0) trail Evansville (13-5-1) by one point for first place in the conference, with the teams meeting tonight in Evansville and Saturday at Memorial Coliseum.
Boucher is 7-1-0 in his past eight games, during which hes stopped 95.5 percent of the shots hes faced and had two shutouts.
His last outing, a 5-3 loss at Wichita on Tuesday, was Bouchers first hiccup since a 4-2 loss to Dayton on Nov. 8.
Boucher, 30, appreciated the praise but wasnt about to claim this was the best hes performed.
My (first) year here, I went 24-2-4 and one of those losses was (really fellow goalie Kevin) Reiters, Boucher said.
You go through stretches where you play incredibly well and you go through stretches where you dont. Obviously, the team has confidence in me, and I feel confident and feel their confidence.
Overall, Boucher is 12-4-0 with a .926 save percentage, 2.20 goals-against average and two shutouts. His backup, Alex Kangas, has played only twice since joining the team Nov. 22.
Led by their goaltending, the Komets have the top-ranked defense in the 14-team CHL, allowing 2.60 goals per game. Their offense ranks third with 3.55 goals per game with 46 games remaining.
I dont necessarily think this is going to continue all season, Boucher said of his recent performances. Its a good time for us and for me personally. But its a long season, and were (only) halfway through December.
Notes: Fort Wayne and Evansville have both won four in a row on home ice, tied for the longest streaks in the league this season. Fans are reminded to bring donations such as books, magazines, soap and socks to Saturdays game to support U.S. troops. Its the last night of Operation Komet Kare Package. For more information on what to donate, call 483-0011.