Komets goaltender Pat Nagle will miss at least four weeks with a high-ankle sprain, general manager David Franke said tonight, so Eric Hartzell will now be the workhorse in net.
Nagle, who is 3-0-0 with a 1.31 goals-against average and a .955 save percentage this season, was injured early in Friday’s 5-0 victory over the defending-champion Allen Americans. Spencer Asuchak cross-checked Nagle, who fell backward awkwardly after stopping three shots.
Hartzell, who is 1-1-0 with a 1.58 GAA and .945 SP, stopped 24 shots in relief as Fort Wayne got its first shutout of the season.
“Nagle had X-rays on his ankle and they were negative for a fracture,” Franke said. “He does have a high ankle sprain and he’s currently in a boot. He will miss 4-to-6 weeks and we’ll put him on injured reserve Monday.”
While Hartzell appeared to have an injury late in Friday’s game, Franke said it was merely a cramp and he’ll be fine to play Wednesday at Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Komets, meanwhile, will now have to search for a competent backup. The most likely candidates would be Garrett Bartus or John McLean, who were in training camp with Fort Wayne. Bartus, who played three games with Fort Wayne last season, is with Macon of the Single-A Southern Professional Hockey League. McLean is with Pensacola of the SPHL.
Hartzell, who was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in college hockey while at Quinnipiac, is in his fourth professional season. A former prospect of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, he has played in the American Hockey League, ECHL and in Germany, where last season he had a 3.74 GAA and a .911 SP over 22 games.