FORT WAYNE – The Komets have been without forward Chris Auger for three games and forward Jean-Michel Rizk for seven, yet the team has continued winning.
Give credit to goaltender Nick Boucher, who was selected Wednesday to start in the CHL All-Star Game on Jan. 11 at Prescott Valley, Ariz., after voting among 53 coaches, reporters and league staff members.
Boucher will represent a team of CHL All-Stars against the host Sundogs. The other starters are forwards Jesse Schultz of Rapid City, Bruce Graham of Allen and Brandon Marino of Quad City, plus defensemen Andrew Martens of Wichita and Jeff Terminesi of Tulsa.
The rest of the team will be announced today.
Boucher leads the league in every relevant statistical goaltending category: games (21), wins (15), goals-against average (2.30), save percentage (.921) and shutouts (3).
He’s been outstanding, said coach Al Sims, whose Komets have won 12 of 15 games to improve to a Turner Conference-leading 17-7-1.
I don’t know how many games (Boucher) has won us, but he’s certainly been tremendous. He’s been behind a pretty good team defense this year, but he’s the last line of defense and is our best penalty killer. He gets us out of jams.
Boucher is in his fifth season with Fort Wayne and has won three IHL championships.
He’s saved a lot of people some heartache, I’ll tell you that, Sims said, for both players and coaches on this team.
Auger has 11 goals and 21 points in 22 games. Rizk has nine goals and 12 points in 15 games.
But since Rizk went down, the Komets have continued to score at a pace of 4.43 goals per game, up .63 goals per game from their league-leading season average of 3.8.
We’ve got three lines and everyone has chemistry with each other, rookie forward Stephon Thorne said.
Auger is likely to return from his concussion tonight, when the Komets play host to Missouri (12-11-3). Rizk, who has had a groin injury, could be in the lineup, too, but that’s less likely.
On Friday, the Komets play at Evansville (15-7-2), meeting the IceMen for the first time since a fight-filled 7-4 Fort Wayne victory Dec. 17. In that game, Auger was concussed by a Karl Linden elbow and Fort Wayne’s Jesse Bennefield slapped Nick Schneider, who had declined to fight.
On Saturday, the Komets play host to Bloomington (8-16-2). The Komets are 36-13-5 on New Year’s Eve.