So here they are, two goal-crease bandits in a pod, side by side again. They’re both eating pasta, at this luncheon to start the 59th season of Komets hockey. One is really eating pasta.
He’s on his third plate, Nick Boucher tattles, smirking at Kevin Reiter.
Reiter grins, rising from the table. He greets his visitor. He says it’s good to be back.
It’s always nice to go back to an organization where you’ve been treated as well as the Komets treat their players, he says.
Nicer still to be back with Boucher, an old friend with whom he’s done great things here before.
It was three seasons ago that Boucher and Reiter last wore the same colors, and hardly anyone forgets what happened. Reiter was 26 years old, the IHL veteran. Boucher, 10 months and change older, was the newcomer. Between the two of them that year, they went 58-12-4; Reiter had a 2.34 goals-against and Boucher a 2.32. In the playoffs, Boucher was 5-2 with a 2.09 GA, and Reiter was 3-3 with a 2.84.
And when the season was over, both were drinking from the Turner Cup, the first of three straight for the black-and-orange.
Now it’s Reiter who defers to Boucher.
Now it’s Reiter who, when Komets general manager David Franke contacted him to see whether he might be interested in coming back, immediately put in a call to Boucher.
I’d kind of moved on, and it was kind of his gig, so I kind of wanted his blessing, I guess you could say, Reiter says. I just said, Hey, what’s the situation? What do you think?’ And I was fortunate enough that I think he was campaigning for me with David to get me back here.
Seems likely. It’s a lonely enough proposition as it is, sliding between the pipes at the AA level. It’s lonelier still when you wind up with a fellow goalie with whom you have no relationship other than the one that’s strictly required.
That’s hardly the case between Reiter and Boucher.
When it started to become a possibility, I started to get really excited, Boucher says. in and I have obviously worked together, and worked together well. We’re pretty close friends, so that always helps. That’s a luxury.
And not just a social luxury, mind you. There’s a definite professional benefit to it as well, one that goes beyond mere locker-room chemistry.
At this level, goalies don’t really get coached very much, Boucher says. You’ve got to rely on your partner to be that second set of eyes, because the things you see on the ice from your point of view aren’t really what he’s seeing from the bench.
So it’s important to have a guy that’s good to work with, whether you have that from the start of the year or you have that pre-existing.
The Komets are counting on it, as they step off into all the unknowns that come with playing in a new league. They’ve always been wedded to the notion that defense and goaltending wins championships, and so a priority every year is to bring in two front-line goalies and play them.
We’ve got two goalies here that are basically both No. 1 goalies, Franke says.
You can’t beat the combination.
Boucher and Reiter won’t say that, exactly. But they will say you can’t beat the situation.
It’s tough at this level, Reiter says. So to be able to bounce ideas off each other, maybe pick out something he notices in my game or I notice in his game it helps just to have someone to talk to that knows the game and kind of knows what you’re going through.