The Journal Gazette
Thursday, December 23, 2021 1:00 am

Puck hasn't been friendly to Komets' young forward

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Shawn Boudrias is clearly very skilled. He just hasn't necessarily been lucky this season.

He's got only two goals and 10 points in 13 games, despite a bevy of terrific scoring opportunities that can't be fully summed up by his 31 shots on goal.

“He's a great kid, he works extremely hard, and sometimes you're in a rut. A half inch one way or the other can be the difference between a rut and groove,” said Komets coach Ben Boudreau, who is confident that Boudrias' game is about to soar.

Boudrias, a 22-year-old forward, had a goal and an assist in Saturday's 4-3 overtime loss to the Cincinnati Cyclones – he slithered through two defenders and ripped a shot from the right circle to score – and went without a point in Sunday's 5-3 loss to the Cyclones.

He, too, believes his game is primed to take a leap.

“We've still got (49) games left, and I'll just keep moving forward and see what happens,” said Boudrias, who has gotten momentum a couple of times, only to be thwarted by things out of his control.

He had six assists in the span of six games before suffering a groin injury during a 1-0 loss to the Indy Fuel on Nov. 17. After missing six games, he returned Dec. 1 and scored his first professional goal, a one-timer from just outside the crease, in a 4-1 loss to the Fuel. He then tested positive for COVID-19 the next day and missed four games.

“I thought I was doing really good and stuff, until I got injured,” Boudrias said. “Then I was out two weeks, came back and played one game, then I tested positive for COVID. I had just gotten my first goal and I was all happy to be with the boys again, then COVID and it was another 10 days out. I'm trying to get back ... and get my cardio and my legs going after missing so much time.”

Boudrias, a native of Terrebonne, Quebec, was a sixth-round draft pick of the NHL's Minnesota Wild in 2018. He was a prodigious scorer in juniors, totaling 35 goals, 79 points, 81 penalty minutes and a plus-39 rating in 59 games for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Cape Breton Eagles in 2019-20. He played four games last season for the American Hockey League's Iowa Wild and had one assist.

The defending-champion Komets (13-7-3), who are tied for second place in the Central Division with Wheeling, play host to Indy (8-12-3) at 5 p.m. Sunday at Memorial Coliseum.

With the Komets missing some of their best forwards – captain Matthew Boudens is with Henderson of the AHL; Drake Rymsha is with Hershey; and Connor Jones is out with a wrist injury – Boudrias' importance is amplified.

“He's a real big body who had been snakebit. It seemed (before Saturday) like he'd get two, three, four quality chances a game that just weren't going in. If you give him time and space, he'll (eventually) be able to find the back of the net,” Boudreau said.

After he skated so few games between the end of the 2019-20 season and the start of this one, getting in shape for the rigorous schedule would have been difficult enough for Boudrias, who lamented: “Boom, an injury, then boom, COVID.”

His goal now is to amplify the Komets' offense, which ranks 12th out of 27 teams with 3.13 goals per game.

“I'm trying to score, I'm trying to make assists, I'm trying to make offensive plays. And I want to be better defensively for the team,” Boudrias said. “I want to hit more and find my game, just get better every day, and the coaches and players here are really helping me out. They have confidence in me and that really helps me. It's a great team with great guys and I just love it.”

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