FORT WAYNE – In what has been a dismal season for the Komets, it’s hard to find the positive attitude in the locker room. But there, in the stall of the No. 3 goalie, you find it with Charlie Effinger.
After almost derailing the Komets’ path to the CHL championship in 2012 – he led Missouri to a seventh game of the conference finals – he was one of Fort Wayne’s first offseason signings for the move to the ECHL.
That was before the Komets had signed rookie goalie Kenny Reiter or entered into an affiliation with the Anaheim Ducks, who have sent goalies Jeff Deslauriers and Marco Cousineau to Fort Wayne to sap some of Effinger’s minutes.
Effinger has played in only 28 games, sporting a goals-against average of 3.57 and a save percentage of .890.
It’s challenging. It really is, Effinger said of sitting out so much.
But that’s the closest to a complaint you will get from Effinger, 27, who played in 105 regular-season games the previous two seasons with Newcastle, England, and Missouri.
I’m a team player, so whatever’s asked of me, I try to do that. You know what I mean? he said. It’s only frustrating in the sense that you want to contribute to the team and you want to be a guy who brings energy. This year, I’ve done that in a different capacity. I have to bring energy in practice a lot.
Effinger is coming off a 2-1 loss Saturday at Elmira, N.Y., during which he stopped 40 of 41 shots and 3 of 5 shootout attempts.
Prior to that, Deslauriers, a former NHL goalie, had started 13 of 14 games.
Jeff (was) playing unreal (for a while). As a goaltender, I can appreciate what he did. Even in some of the games we lost, he made some big-time saves, said Effinger, whose Komets (32-33-4) play host to the Toledo Walleye (35-26-9) tonight at Memorial Coliseum.
Last season, Effinger was 32-15-4 with a 2.70 GAA and a .923 save percentage for Missouri. He’s played 1,565 fewer minutes this season, though.
It hasn’t been frustrating (sitting out); it’s been different, he said. More than 50 games last year and the year before, it’s not a negative (being a backup). It’s just different. And I love the group of guys and it’s still fun. I love playing hockey.
Note: Komets defenseman Ryan Hegarty was fined an undisclosed amount by the ECHL for a penalty for abuse of officials in Saturday’s 2-1 shootout loss at Elmira, N.Y.